Skin Shopping

While still in Beta according to their website, The Shops has now been around for a few months. This new brand brings together the brands previously launched by the same team—including stores such as the Abyss and the Body Co—and adds a new store, the Skin Shop. More is supposed to come in the future, but for it is just the skins, though “just” isn’t the right way to put it. Since launching, the Skin Shop has released over a dozen male and female skins, all of the very high quality that Second Life has come to expect from these creators.

Despite being a big fan of the skins from the Abyss and the Body Co, I had actually not picked up a skin from the Skin Shop until yesterday. I’ll get into why in a bit, but for now, lets just say I am very glad I finally did; the Pixie skin was just what this particular shape of mine needed.

For this post I am also wearing a brand-new hair release from Eaters Coma and I am absolutely in love with the soft cascade of hair in front. The waviness is perfectly done and it is so flattering around the face as well. My dress for the first picture is the stunning Margaret dress from the Muses in Purple.

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So, why did it take me a while? Well, to some extent, this can be chalked up to the way the Skin Shop now sells their skins. I’ll try to summarise the process for those who perhaps have found it a bit daunting themselves.

There are no complete skins being sold at the Skin Shop. Instead, you buy a body (L$500), a face (L$500) and a set of eyebrows (L$250) as separate purchases. The actual skin item is the body, which has a blank face, and the face and the eyebrows come on tattoo layers. This means that the minimum price for your first skin, unless you add eyebrows from another creator, is L$1250.

There are advantages as well as drawbacks to this process. If you are likely to wear a single tone, regardless of face, then you can buy a single body and wear it with multiple faces. You could also reuse the eyebrows for multiple faces. This would make each face progressively cheaper. On the other hand, if you’re like me, you like to wear lots of different skin tones and lots of different brow colours and then it adds up.

So, indecision was behind my delayed purchase decision. I was considering trying to find a favourite tone, one I could wear multiple faces with, but in the end it proved hopeless, not the least since the Skin Shop provides _36_ different skin tones. This means that for me, the pricing structure as it currently stands won’t be that efficient, especially compared to the pricing structures of other current skins. However, since the quality of the Skin Shops and the uniqueness of the faces really sets the store apart, I am personally willing to pay a little extra. Still, I would probably shop more with a different price structure or with some other changes that I will get into when discussing the faces.

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Before that, however, lets take a look at the body. This is the toned body, one of three body options provided; the other two are the fit body (more muscle definition) and the busty body (essentially push-up shading for the breasts). I think that the busty body should probably not be sold separately but rather included as an alternative with both the toned and the fit body types; each body type would need that sort of cleavage shading for corsets and similar garments.

You do get two options with each body (as well as with each face), but these come down to either bold or soft shading. I like the stronger highlights and lowlights of the bold body best, especially for photography, but the soft option is nice as well.

The quality of the body is impeccable—and it has a very nice bottom, always very important to me—though the breast shading isn’t ideal for smaller breasts. I would love to see not just a body with the “push up” cleavage but also a body with more subtle cleavage included with both the toned and fit bodies.

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Now we get to the face. The Pixie face is quite sublime, especially in the paler tones (this is tone 03). I found that while it can certainly look very cute on some faces, it can also be taken in a direction that makes me think of ethereal pre-Raphaelite beauties.

I am actually not wearing any of the Skin Shop eyebrows here since I was still dithering about a colour. Instead, I am using one of alaskametro’s brows, available at the Marketplace. I am also using a lip stain from Adam n Eve, which lets the shape and texture of Pixie’s lip come through.

Now, you can sort of combine bits and pieces of the different faces. For example, the current range of lipsticks and eyeshadows, which also are sold separately, are based on the lips and eyes from the existing faces. That means that you can buy a lipstick that uses the Pixie lip and use that on, for example, the Alanna face. The same holds true for the eyeshadows.

However, there’s currently no easy way—except by comparing manually—to tell which lipstick is based on which face or which eyeshadow is based on which face. Furthermore, there’s no way to separately purchase the Pixie lips or the Pixie eyes without makeup.

I am hoping that the team behind the skins will tweak the current model so that when you buy a face, you get the full face (without eyebrows, as before) plus tattoo layers of the base lips and base eyes. That way, buying two faces would mean that you immediately can create several different combinations, and if you add in yet more faces in the same tone your options just keep multiplying. If they could also provide the nose on a separate tattoo layer, the mix and matching would be truly impressive and well worth the prices currently charged. However, I would definitely settle for just the eyes and lips; I would simply have to buy several faces if that sort of mixing was possible.

Now, one good point about the Skin Shop is that you can get your purchases redelivered, so if there are any updates in the future, you can get those delivered. That is why I decided to buy the Pixie skin now instead of waiting on any future changes. So why not head over to the Shops and try on some demos? Just make sure to read the instructions carefully on how to get demos and how to purchase products; the Skin Shop uses a special HUD interface and requires you to deposit money before a purchase (but not before a demo purchase, of course). I do think that getting the demos can take a bit too long with this interface, but I don’t expect that everyone is as picky as me and insists on demoing every single skin tone… Still, some sort of demo packages might have been a nice option to add as well.

And there you have it; a proper, lengthy skin review again. It has been a while since one of those.

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