Review: Sobe Botanicals

Before Ordering: I’d seen other people rave about Sobe Botanicals products. In particular, I read great reviews of the Primed and Proper eyeshadow primer, and wanted to give it a shot. Sobe has both a proper website and an Etsy shop; I ordered through the website.

What I Ordered: A tube of Primed & Proper, and samples of Shacked Up and Parfait eyeshadows.

Shipping Time: I placed my order on January 21st, and received a shipping notice the evening of January 24th (Monday). However, according to the delivery confirmation number, my order didn’t actually hit sorting at Sobe’s post office until February 4th (Friday), a week and a half later. I received my order on February 7th. Sobe’s shipping disclaimer is as follows:

Please allow up to 5 Business days for us to ship out your order, but we usually ship orders withing 24-48hrs (Weekdays). Items are prepared fresh when you place your order. Holiday & Sale times can exceed the 5 business day ship time. You will receive a Paypal notice with your Delivery Confirmation once shipped.

To my knowledge, there were no special sales going on at the time, and it was, of course, after the winter holiday season.

Packaging: My order was shipped via bubble mailer. Inside, I found a cute animal print paper bag that had a logo sticker on the front and was tied closed with some ribbon. The bag contained a business card, a ziplock bag with my two purchased samples, two free OOak eyeshadows (I assume it stands for One of a Kind, sort of like the mystery shadows Aromaleigh used to do), and the tube of Primed & Proper, which had some stretchy tape (plumber’s tape, I think) wrapped around the cap to help seal it from leaking. There was no paper copy of my invoice included.

Ingredients: Most ingredients can be found listed on the product pages on Sobe’s website, or in the individual listings in the Etsy shop. The Primed and Proper had an ingredients label on the tube.

The Product: First, let’s look at Sobe’s photo of the eyeshadow colors I ordered.

Sobe Botanicals Rainbow Brights

Parfait-Bright Mauvy pink
Shacked up-Bright Purple

What I actually received:

Sobe Botanicals swatches

PASTEL. The collection’s called Rainbow Brights and they’re pastels.

I thought maybe they’re so pale because I was swatching without primer. So I pulled out my usual TFSI as well as the Primed and Proper and made new swatches.

Sobe Botanicals Shacked Up

Not as described, not as pictured, not what I expected, not going to be used.

Customer Service: I didn’t actually contact Sobe, though I was ready to do so when the delivery confirmation number finally had an update on the 4th. I do, however, consider it poor service to send out a shipping notice a week and a half before actually shipping, without updating the customer with the reason for such a delay; there wasn’t even a delay notice on the website or the Etsy shop.

Final Thoughts:

  • Was I happy with my purchase? Not really; more like disappointed.
  • Would I order from Sobe again? Probably not.
  • Rating? 2 out of 5 stars.

Remember to check out my Coney Sunset Giveaway!

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~ by shatteredshards on June 6, 2011.

20 Responses to “Review: Sobe Botanicals”

  1. I was feeling like I was the only one to have trouble with this company, & could not reconcile all the good reviews with my experience. I ordered lipsticks, & got an email that they couldn’t be shipped due to “sudden heat”, when the location of the company had had similar temperatures for over 2 weeks already, so I never should have been able to pay for the listings to begin with, since they should have been removed 2 weeks earlier.
    I didn’t look at the eyeshadow section, but it did seem odd that so many site lip swatches looked similar other than their vibrant colors. After I saw some blog swatches of one of the colors I had ordered, I became more suspicious that the products in no way resembled the site swatches. I figured it was a silver-lining that my order was refused, after the blog swatches for “Purple Rain” were lavender in contrast to the site’s dark vampy purple,& would have been very disappointed to have received it anyway.
    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. It is also obvious that the colors were significantly altered from looking at the skin around the mouth in the lip swatches, which was a different shade in each pic, being white, pinkish, sickly yellow-green, etc., which just screams *color-shopping* to me. It was bad enough that the site swatches are shopped so badly that they don’t remotely resemble any blog swatches, but on top of it, the site owner claims: “**All photos shown of our actual lip products. Colors may look slightly different on you depending on your skin shade & monitor settings vary**”
    Regardless of monitor settings & skin color, there is a lot more than a ‘slight difference’ between pastel lavender & blackened vampy purple.

    • Well, I feel like an idiot.

      Now that you mentioned it, I looked a bit more closely at their product photos – Shacked Up and Parfait (and Blue Grotto from that collection) are the same freakin swatch, just Photoshopped. Capri and Gleam are the same swatch as well (and the same as Sublime and OrangeUGlad). They were rotated to look more different, rotated so that they don’t stick out as being Photoshopped, and that’s why I missed it before.

      I’m kind of mad at myself, actually. Had I paid closer attention when I ordered, I would have spotted it and not placed my order! I’m big on product photos being accurate and not just tinted versions of the same thing because if someone’s going to tint their product photos instead of actually taking true photos, they will always tint in a way that makes the product look better than it really is.

  2. I can understand tweaking the color of one image to represent one color, *if* the camera & lighting don’t make it true to life, but to color-shop one image to simulate 10 lipstick shades, & then claim “All photos shown of our actual lip products,” is dishonest, & that, combined with the kind of terrible customer service I experienced, really makes me wonder how they get so many good reviews. <:-S
    I matched up the lipstick images & found these 4 sets of matching images:
    1st set: Camelot = Peach Fuzz = Chardonay = Dolly = Skinny Dip = Parasol = Pink Cupcakes = In The Buff = Cherry Blossom = Mauvin Out.
    2nd set: Burnt = Brick = Copper Pipe = Bronze Age = Harlequin = Coppering
    3rd set: Madamoselle = Prima Donna = Purple Rain = Coastal = Take the Cake = Cherry Pie
    4th set: Velour = Ravashing = Mayhem

  3. Oh, & there is no need to feel like an idiot. I ordered (& then took 7 emails to cancel & get a refund), even though I kind of suspected a lot of the swatches looked alike, but thought, well, the same set of lips would look alike, but it’s like your signature that you never sign the same *exact* way twice, & I didn’t match them up until today. When it is a company that is lauded by bloggers that we respect, I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of not using our critical thinking as much as we would with a brand new company.

  4. That’s disgusting >:( I’m sorry you had such an awful experience, but thanks for the heads up. I won’t be shopping there anytime soon.

  5. I appreciate the honesty of this review. We are all entitled to our opinions and have the right to share our experiences.

    However, missjupiter, I worked my butt off on these swatches and you are wrong. While some angles are similar, NONE are exact and NONE were manipulated to look like a completely different swatch or colour.

    Those are MY lips and that is MY eye on the swatches and I swatched each lipstick/gloss/eyeshadow individually and photographed them myself. None are duplicates that were recoloured to look like another colour. However, due to lighting issues, some were adjusted to represent their true colour as best as possible. Which I did myself, not the owner of Sobe Botanicals.
    I can’t speak for the other images listed in this review as I simply don’t know (I did not take those photographs) but I will truthfully say that the lip and eye swatches are genuine as I worked on them myself. Thanks! :-)

  6. Hm, it is funny. I always had good experiences with SoBe…. Perhaps you should contact her about it? If you get a product that is not what you expect, she helps. I had trouble with a change in the formula of the foundations and she did the best she could to help me. Also, when my sister complained about the scent of the foundation, she changed it.
    All photos are by Blix, so I don’t think they are photoshopped. Purple rain looks dark purple on my lips… if yours looks pastel, contact Lex, I’m sure she’ll be willing to replace it.
    Anyway, contact Lex and tell her about your disappointment. I always had great c/s from her, and whenever I needed info she was really helpful.

    About the e/s, I’ve never ordered from this collection, so I won’t give my opinion on those, but the ones I have from them are pigmented and close to the website swatches. (Snapped is gorgeous in RL, but I can’t capture that with my camera at all, still, it’s very close to the website swatch)
    I’ll swatch Purple Rain to show you how mine looks like, if it would be useful when you contact Lex. Not sure if you need it, but I’ll do that :)

  7. @shatteredshards
    As you pointed out, it is more than obvious that the 4 eyeshadow images of the ‘Brights’ eyeshadow colors your reviewed are color-shopped of pictures of only 2 images. The 10 “colors” in the ‘Brights’ are represented by only 5 individual images. Whoever chose & edited the images to post on the site, apparently had no qualms about using color-shopped images, despite site claims that they only use photos of actual products.

    @BLIX
    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.

    • 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.

      • If you truly think your photos have not been manipulated on the Sobe Botanicals swatch page, you are sadly mistaken. I won’t go so far as to say that they’re all manipulations of the same four photos, but the color has definitely been changed. Unless your skintone varied dramatically during the time you spent making those swatches, they have definitely fallen prey to Photoshop. Examples here: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6025/5910471729_71e99795b6_z.jpg

        The little rectangles off to the right are samples of you skintone copied from the photos and pasted to the white for comparison. One of them can definitely only be called green, which I assume your skin is not.

    • @missjupiter
      I’m not sure if you’re using dud software, a bad monitor, have poor vision or are just lying. Whichever case, you’re wrong.
      Here is an animation of the two colours you specifically mentioned, Harlequin and Purple Rain – the two you dubbed “the exact same image”: http://i55.tinypic.com/153l1ex.gif
      The bottom of the bottom lips match up, but nothing else does. Notice how the lines on the bottom lip are almost identical, but everything else changes? That’s because they’re two different photographs.
      Admittedly, the pictures from the site do look a little more similar due to the corners of the mouths being cut off, but not enough to justify your claiming them to be the same photograph with such assurance.

  8. Sobe was introduced to me from another blogger. I ordered and she forgot to include one item totally by accident. It was the small vegan art brush. When I let her know she immediately offered to pay to have it shipped immediately/expedited. I was so pleased with the colors I received I told her to wait until I placed another order… which included everything and extras for free.
    If you look at the swatches Blix did you can see different angles, and shapes to her lips and eyebrows- not to mention the placement of the eye.
    I am sorry you had a hard time with Sobe’s shipping, this is a company ran by someone who I know works hard, as does Blix for swatches.
    But… what a product looks like in the packaging normally doesn’t translate immediately like that to anyone’s skin.
    I think you have the right to express your opinions and such- I am sorry you didn’t like the products.
    But more Sobe for me! XD

    • I can’t speak for the lipsticks, obviously, as I did not order them.

      But I will say that it’s not fair to state that how it looks in the packaging usually doesn’t compare to how it looks like worn in regards to the eyeshadow, as the product photos are Photoshopped, and are not actual photos of the product I ordered. If you have any trouble seeing what I’m referring to with that, I will be happy to post screencaps of the product shots compared to each other in Photoshop.

      Also, I have to disagree, because I can name a few companies/sellers whose products reliably swatch out as expected with their product shots.

  9. Just looking at the pics above from Sobe of the eyeshadows you can tell that Gleam and Capri are from the same shot with altered colour and the orientation of the shadow changed (just look at the crack going through them!) and Shacked Up and Parfait are the same images also.
    Very interesting. I am going to withhold my judgement on this company for the moment though you may be onto to something here. Try contacting the owner to see there perspective on these issues and also the pigmentation problems with the eyeshadows – they are just disappointing for what could be lovely shades.

    • It’s not even pigmentation – they literally are on the chalky side, like too much base was cut into them. They look pastel right in the bag, nothing like the product photos.

      Had it been one of the colors only, I would have assumed it was a bad batch. But both of the ones I picked are like that, which leads me to believe the entire collection is formulated that way.

    • Nobody is onto anything here in regards to photos. Reputable makeup companies such as MAC have been photoshopping product images for years. They have the same exact photo edited dozens of times to make it look like numerous other colours, yet I have not heard anyone calling MAC a dishonest company over it.

  10. I don’t think the images provided by Blix have been altered by anyone at all. She’s actually put an image on her own blog showing the photos she herself took and they look identical to the ones on Sobe’s site. Even Harlequin and Purple Rain look different to me. The shine on the lips is not the same. If a colour had been changed by Photoshop then the shine should be the same in both photos. But it’s not…

    I can appreciate that even the best of indie companies will have a few unhappy customers. Making your own formulations means occasionally you’ll make a mistake. However I smell a rat regarding Miss Jupiter’s claims of transparency inlays etc. Why? Because she has not shown us the evidence. If you are going to make such a statement online the you must link to a blog and upload photo evidence. You can’t just make such a statement without providing people with proof, it’s actually very irresponsible and if untrue, then libellous and potentially damaging to a company’s reputation and financial revenue. If you have the ebidemce of all the work you did then the responsible thing would be to upload it so we can all see the ‘proof’ for ourself. At the moment you are making a very damaging claim without backing it up. If in fact you are correct and you show us the screenshots, photo evidence etc then I would be the first to apologise for being sceptical.

    My sympathies to the original poster. It’s always so disappointing when something like this happens.

  11. I’m sorry you had such an unfortunate experience with Sobe but I’m sure if you contacted Lex she would help you out to the best of her abilities. Granted, you posted your review almost five months after receiving your order so I’m not sure how that would be handled. I highly encourage you to contact a company immediately if you have any issues with the product or services. Doing so has saved me a lot of frustration in the past.

    My order from Sobe also took a while longer to ship than I expected but all of the eyeshadow samples I received were identical to the pictures on the website. The only difference was that I ordered the eyeshadow Que Sera(http://sobebotanicals.com/products-page/color-browns-neutrals/que-sera-eyeshadow/) and it was more sparkly IRL than in the photo, but that may be attributed to my monitor settings and the difficulty with photographing sparkles well.

    • In the past, I have tried contacting companies upon finding problems with my order. Unfortunately it’s resulted in things like my following order being messed up or being given an insignificant refund that PayPal took fees on to boot (because the seller didn’t actually use the refund process).

      In this case, contacting Sobe about the delay in shipping would have made sense, yes. However, it wouldn’t have made much difference in the fact that the eyeshadows I ordered were misrepresented, both with their descriptions and with their Photoshopped product photos. A small refund for the samples would have been compensation, but it wouldn’t have changed the fact that they are essentially false advertising, and it wouldn’t have lessened my disappointment in Sobe’s products not being what they claim them to be; sparkliness is hard to photograph, but falsified color is just dishonest.

      In the end, contacting Sobe probably wouldn’t have changed my review.

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