Makeup Brushes: Keep It Clean, People!

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I CAN STOP ANYTIME I WANT

One thing I really forgot to mention when I did my series of posts about brushes was how to clean them, and when. And why. Well, the why’s not hard – you need to clean them because our faces, hands and surfaces do tend to harbour germs and it’s good to give brushes a good clean every so often, more often if you are prone to breakouts / blemishes. If you are this kind of person who is very prone to breakouts, then you might want to at least spot clean (“spray n wipe”) your face brushes after each use. Totally up to you.

But can you wash them too often? IMO, yes. A lot of brushes (particularly natural fibre ones) aren’t designed to be washed every day or every week even. So I thought I’d give you the lowdown on what I do. Disclaimer: this is just my opinion which you might think is gross, I don’t care, do whatever you want ok? Ok. It’s also worth noting that if I am doing makeup on another person, I ALWAYS thoroughly clean my brushes beforehand.

I find cleaning my brushes to be a really therapeutic process. I like doing it. Maybe this is BECAUSE I don’t do it every single week. I don’t know.

What you’ll need:

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1. A couple of hand towels, folded into four. I like my microfibre cloth because it’s super soft but also absorbent!

2. A mild shampoo such as Johnson’s No More Tears or even a face cleanser sample you got but didn’t like (I’m using Purity by Philosophy to clean mine).

3. A shallow bowl of lukewarm water with a bit of the above cleanser in it.

4. A flat surface with a cloth on it – I use a folded up muslin cloth (see picture at top) OR a rail like a towel rail and some rubber bands (stay with me, all will be explained)

5. OPTIONAL – Brush Guards. I frickin LOVE these things, SO MUCH. Again, will explain.

Righto so I normally start with the ones that are the least dirty, like doing the washing up. This is normally eye brushes. I dip each brush up to the ferrule (the bit that holds the bristles) into the water, letting it get fully soaked. I whisk it around in there a bit if I think it’s quite grubby.

I then put a squidge of the cleanser of choice into the middle of my palm and rub the bristles into the cleanser. The voracity with which you do this will really be defined by the kind of brush. If it’s a synthetic bristle go nuts. If it’s natural and you find it to be a bit fragile, go a little softer and either way try not to bend the bristles against the ferrule (don’t push it too hard into your hand). You just want to swirl the brush against your palm in the cleanser, getting all the crud out.

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After that I swish the brush back in the water. if when you lean the bristles against the edge of the bowl, gunk still comes out of it, repeat previous step. Repeat until water is clear. This is particularly going to happen with things like concealer blending or foundation brushes that have held a lot of cream or liquid product.

Once you’ve got it all out, swirl the brush onto your folded dry cloth with whatever firmness you think best, until the bristles are no longer soaked with water. It’s not good to let brushes sit wet, so the more liquid you can get out of at this point, the better!

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At this point if I have a brush that I like to keep in a particular shape, for example my MAC 217s, Wayne Goss Holiday Brush or Real Techniques Buffing brush, I pop a Brush Guard over the top and then let it sit, bristles over the edge of the desk, on the muslin cloth. Brush Guards are fabulous. They’re a stretchy sort of mesh.. sock? open at both ends and they go over the bristle section to keep the shape of the brush while travelling and even while being stored but PARTICULARLY while drying. Now, if this is no concern to you, carry on they’re not an essential. But I personally really hate it when my brushes get all frayed and fluffy. I like them to stay the way I bought them, and Brush Guards are a super inexpensive way to do this. One of my favourite purchases ever, realtalk.

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The other thing you can do (with or without a brush guard) is to hang your brushes on a railing using some hair bands or elastic/rubber bands. I will admit – I don’t do this. The benefit is that the brushes hang upside down, bristles down, meaning that no water at all can get into the ferrule as they dry (important for glue deterioration and mould accumulation issues). This is obviously a good thing and it’s entirely possible that when I move to a cold climate I may start doing this but so far I’ve either had mine drying in a warm, dry spot or in front of the AC flow so they’ve dried fairly quickly. If you’re interested in this method of drying, you can see what I mean here:

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Img credit: http://prettybyjulianne.tumblr.com/

That’s pretty much it! Wait til they’re dry, then you can use them again.

One thing I want to say is to be mindful of your “good” brushes, the natural bristle ones (it is possible to get cruelty free ones – Wayne Goss is a good example, the animals are brushed to get the hairs, same with Hakuhodo) can really not do well with frequent washing. It makes the brushes deteriorate faster. So how often should you wash them? It’s such a good question and one I don’t feel really well equipped to answer. I wash mine probably every fortnight, or when I notice they’re getting very grubby. If I wore makeup every single day without fail I might wash them every weekend.

If you want to give them a spot clean in between washes, you can use something like a brush cleaner – Artiste is quite a good one that I’ve used with success, you can get it from Priceline for about $15 for 100mL. The best thing about this is that it’s in a spray format so you just spritz on, give a wipe and you’re doneski. For a higher end one, MAC is known for making a fabulous one though I’ve not tried it myself. It’s actually pretty good value to be honest, though it doesn’t have the convenient spray packaging that the Artiste one. It’s $20 for 235mL and you can get it from MAC Online, NOWHERE ELSE ONLINE OK? Don’t get tripped up by the fakeries. This method (spray and wipe) is how I always wash my Wayne Goss Holiday Brush, apart from every couple of months when I will give it a more thorough clean in the usual way.

I have heard people saying that they use Isocol (isopropyl alcohol). I would really not recommend this, it’s extremely drying on your brushes and bad for them but if you have a REALLY grubby brush, for example a lip brush that’s coated in very difficult to shift lipstick, then go nuts but give it a rinse afterwards for goodness sake. For long-wearing makeup you might be better off using an oil-based makeup remover anyway. Isocol is a great antibacterial though, so keep that in mind if you wish.

I hope this has been helpful, I hope I didn’t miss anything. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have further questions, queries or suggestions!

Love+++

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Priceline Australia 40% Off Makeup Sale! How to Not Lose Your Shit.

So my beautiful friend Memily brought to my attention today that Priceline’s 40% off Makeup Sale starts tomorrow. This is exciting news! I had actually unsubscribed from their emails in preparation for leaving the country so I didn’t know. But now I do, and I’m here to help you not lose your mind and buy all the things.

I have said from the beginning of this blog that I’m super pro pharmacy (drugstore) brands. Not just because I have access to them and not much else here, but because they frickin own and some of them are actually made by the same companies as the more expensive brands (Chanel/Bourjois anyone?) so there’s that, as well. I’m not going to go into super big detail on any of these products, I’m just going to give a basic rundown of things I think are awesome and worth spending money on. Hang tight, here we go!

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First up, let’s talk about foundation. If you have a favourite brand of foundation and you’re running low, or you just want to stock up, go nuts. Do that thing. But if you haven’t tried any of the foundations available at Priceline and you think you might like to, here are my recommendations.

First of all, Bourjois Healthy Mix (for oily/combo) or Healthy Mix Serum (dry-normal). I use the former and love it. It’s a fabulous foundation with medium to full coverage, it’s a lovely consistency that doesn’t take much blending and is just generally a real winner. The shade range isn’t huge, but there should be something to suit most shades. I wear this is an everyday foundation, mostly because it’s cheap and using my expensive foundations every day (when I am in high-use makeup periods) makes me nervous. They’re both normally $32, so you’d pick them up for just under $20. You could also get yourself the Healthy Balance powder for $12 (usually $20) and the Healthy Mix concealer for $14.40. All brilliant products that I personally recommend.

The next foundation recommendation that I’ve tried and loved myself is the L’Oreal True Match foundation. This one has LOADS of different shades and is another fabulous medium coverage everyday use foundation. It’s not as matte as the HM, which is quite matte, but it’s semi-matte I would say so it’s still good for those of us with oily skin as well as dryer skin types. It’s normally $29.95 so you’d get it for $18 though I note at the moment Priceline has a $8.99 off deal for it – I wonder if that will continue into the sale? Would be SWEET if it did, but I doubt it. We can dream!

Other foundations that I haven’t tried myself but that are popular so rate a mention include the L’Oreal Lumi Magique Light Infusing foundation, normally $33.95 now $20.40 (great for dry skin), Revlon ColorStay range (usually $34.95, will be $21) and I’m sure there are more too, ask your friendly Priceline beauty consultant for one that will match your skin type 🙂

My lip product collection is largely premium branded I must say, there’s a lot of MAC and Nars in there, but there’s definitely a few key pharmacy brands to look out for. The first one won’t come as any surprise to you guys, it’s the Australis VelourLips range.

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ZERO REGRETS

These are like $10 so you’re looking at paying $6 each. I’m going to stock up, as well as grab some to give to my American friends because they are just THAT good. I swatched my favourites for you below.

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Fun fact: they also smell like delicious candy. I dug up a few Insties of me wearing them too:

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Left to right: Buda-Pash, Doo-Bai, NY-Cee

They’re seriously good, buy them, omg, they’re $6 for the love of god. BUY THEM! They’re so pigmented and they last forever and they’re just great. They make me want to cry.

Okay so. I also very much enjoy and have three of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks which are really similar, just probably not AS long lasting. There’s a great colour range. I actually packed two of these, Hot Pepper and Ole Flamingo (bright red and hot pink respectively) but I found Nude-Ist hiding under my bed so that one stayed. Here it is swatched:

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And here are some other random insties of Hot Pepper (left) and Ole Flamingo (right).

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As you can see they are similar in level of pigmentation but not quite there, you need a couple of coats.. Anyway they’re good and for $14 down from $24, a great choice IMO.

That’s it for lip stuff, like I said I do tend towards the higher end for a lot of lip stuff but that’s just me.

Eyeshadow gets a good run at the pharmacy for me, particularly Maybelline eyeshadows. Their Color Tattoo range is fabulous and I have lots of them. It’s a cream shadow that lasts for EVER, the longevity really is astounding, through an entire work day easily. I consider them as good if not better than my beloved Smashbox cream shadow range which is known for being ultra longlasting. Pop a bit of eye primer on before you start and you’re good for an entire day, sweat and all. They are normally $11.95 which is frankly a bargain anyway (the Smashbox ones are $26) but tomorrow and Wednesday they’ll be $7.20. GO. JUST GO. That goes for the Metal range as well (of which Inked in Pink is one).

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I’ve sent a few to the USA but the ones that have stayed are swatched here:

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The taupe is quite a lot darker than you think it’s going to be, that was a lesson learned. I like it though, it’s a taupey greyish purple, and totally matte unlike the other two, which are shimmery. Barely Branded is a really fabulous base colour, I don’t have it because I have a Smashbox one that’s exactly the same and I have SOME self control sometimes I SWEAR TO GOD OKAY

Ahem

Speaking of shimmery eyeshadows, these lovelies are by MaxFactor and they’re quite similar to the above except that they are much lighter and more moussey of a consistency. They definitely don’t last as long but they are really nice and still relatively longlasting. They’re the Excess Shimmer shadows and I have them in 3 colours, all of which I wear fairly regularly.

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Swatched:

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The copper is almost a creamy beige moreso than a true copper, but I do very much like it. For reference, when I went to wipe these off, they came off fairly easily with some Bioderma (what a pity that won’t be included in the sale) on a cotton pad but the Maybelline Color Tattoo range did NOT, it took some scrubbing. So there’s that. Anyway, these are great. Weirdly, I cannot find them on the Priceline website but I know I bought them from there, and they’re definitely not discontinued because I saw them at Target the other day.. can’t solve that mystery however if you see them and you feel the price is right – go nuts they’re tops. From what I remember they are definitely not as cheap as the Maybelline though, and they don’t last as long.

There’s also the Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments which are for the loose powder lovers in all of us, of which I am majorly one. I only have one of these however, because I’m trying to curb my intense loose powder collection (*buys 1000 Baroque Cosmetics shadows* oops). This is the one I have:

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Swatched on skin:

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It’s really nice! I wore it to work the other day and it lasted well. It’s quite dark for a copper but I love the colour, personally.

I also have another Maybelline eyeshadow (I srsly love this brand), it’s a little palette and I just loved the rose-gold colour in it. It’s this one:

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Also in the “sent to USA” group.. soz.

This is one of the Eye Studio Hyper Diamonds Eye Shadow sets in “Hyper Bronze”. I was really surprised how well all the colours worked together in this little baby. I’m a fan. These are normally $18.95 which means you’ll pick one up for about $11.50 which is smashing value for an eyeshadow palette. There’s lots of other colour sets too including a lovely looking green one, but lately I’m really into metal bronze/copper/rose gold type tones so yeah soz not soz.

My last eyeshadow rave is the L’Oreal Color Infallible range. Seriously, these are AMAZING. They’re a dupe for something really spectacular – the Tom Ford shadows maybe? They are a lightly pressed powder, in that they live with a little stamper in them so they’re kept pressed but they’re not pressed in the traditional sense. This makes them way easier to work with if you’re not keen on the messiness of loose powder.

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This one is an absolutely amazing navy blue, a TRUE navy blue if I may dare to say so, and it’s lovely and shimmery! Swatched on skin:

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These are normally $19.95 so will set you back about $12 tomorrow and Wednesday, which is a total bargain because they are wonderful. I am told there are all kinds of new and different colours in this range in the USA so I look forward to that. Hourglass Beige is one that I’ve been wanting too but it’s always sold out so if you see that one, snap it up. Great value even at their full price, IMO.

As far as mascara goes, well, drugstore mascara is where it’s at. There’s tonnes to choose from however my favourite at the moment is still the Kate Moss for Rimmel one, “Idol Eyes”. It’s normally $16.95 so tomorrow it’ll be about $10. A bargain, it’s got a weird wand but I just love it. But honestly if you have a favourite pharmacy brand mascara just grab a couple of them and make sure they’re very tightly sealed. It’s letting air into them that makes them go off!

Brows, well, you know, I’m a big fan of the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow range (Brow Wiz and DipBrow come at me) but I also really was surprisingly a huge fan of the Maybelline (oh god) Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara. It’s a very interesting little thing! It’s got a kind of knobbly end, as shown:

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Making it fabulous for when you’re just in a real hurry and you want to give some definition to dem brows. It doesn’t add a lot of colour, and in fact sometimes I use this as a brow gel over my already filled in brows. This is normally $12.95 so will be $7.80 tomorrow and Wednesday.

Speaking of brow gels, I think the Ardell one is excellent and it is cheap as chips at $6.99 for normal price. It’ll be like $4.20 in the sale which is a great price and honestly, it does what it says on the tube what more can you ask for? Give it a whirl.

If you haven’t bought any Real Techniques brushes yet for some insane reason, this is a great time to pick them up. I will be grabbing myself a new Complexion Sponge (normally $16, will be <$10) because I think it’s as good if not better than the beauty blender (and vintageortacky agrees with me).Grab yourself an Expert Face Brush ($20 normally, will be $12) – I guarantee you won’t regret it. I’m also tempted to grab another Core Collection pack purely for the Buffing Brush because I love it so. But the rest of that pack is kinda garbage so it makes me sad. Anyway we shall see!

So those are my main recommendations. It’s certainly not the entirety of my pharmacy brand collection but that’s what I’d get, were I you.

I hope this has been helpful, please feel free to leave any questions, comments or suggestions either in the comments section or on whatever social media you’d like. Links for that stuff will be up soon – but you can certainly find me on instagram @freedomandvanity in the meantime!

Love+++

Clean That Stuff Off: The Makeup Removal Post

This was requested AGES ago by my friend Sophie of “I Am Very Busy and Important”. Sorry it’s taken me so long, Soph!

Makeup removal is a fairly personal thing, I think. I have a few different techniques that I use, I don’t think any of them are particularly out there, they’re pretty standard. But they work great for me so I’ll post about them, shall I? Ok then.

Eye makeup removal is one of the things that people seem to struggle with the most. It’s that eternal battle between coveting something that’s as long-lasting as possible (because fuck touching up all the time, am I right? You know I’m right) and not wanting to need battery acid to remove it. The best combination I’ve found is to use a cleansing micellar water for a bit of a soak, followed up with an oil cleanser. Let me explain.

The Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Cleansing Water (previously called Crealine H2O) does not look like it should work. It literally looks like water. It doesn’t have that dual-phase thing where you shake it up to activate it, it just looks like water.

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But it’s not. It is magical and special. Now, I’m not a scientist, and others are better at explaining why it actually works. But it does. So this is always my first step for removing makeup. I put a decent amount of it on 2 cotton pads, like I don’t SOAK them until they’re dripping but I put quite a bit on each pad so that when you press the pads onto your eyes, you get a lot of product contact onto the eyelid. You want to press them on for awhile, I usually try to count to thirty, slowly. I gently move my fingertips around on the other side of the pad to make sure the product comes into full contact, but I try not to rub it on my eyelid skin. When I take the pads from my eyes, I wipe gently outwards to make sure I lift as much as I can off my eyelids. I then turn the pads over and repeat, making sure I press into all the crannies. I have deep sunk eyes so… there are crannies. You can get this product from lots of different places in Australia – interestingly, it’s very hard to find in the USA apparently?! But in good old Australia it’s available at Priceline, Terry White Chemists, Adore Beauty and plenty of other places. It comes in 3 different sizes – 100mL (dinky and cute for travelling / small spaces), 250mL and 500mL. There are cheaper dupes available which I have not tried myself, but I have heard good things about both the Garnier one, and the L’Oreal one as well as a brand-favourite of mine, the LaRoche Posay one. Would love to know if anyone has tried these!

So that’s my first step. Following this is always an oil cleanser, without exception. Most makeup will contain a bit of oil, or oil-mimicking ingredients. It is, in my opinion, very difficult or impossible to remove makeup without an oil cleanser. It is for me anyway. I absolutely love oil cleansing. The one I’ve been using for the last year or so is the Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil.

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I really love this product. It’s fabulous. It’s a nice light oil, it’s not too dense or thick or greasy. You can get it from Aesop Australia for $57 (200mL) or from Adore Beauty for the same price but with free shipping (not sure if Aesop does free shipping). One thing I’d definitely recommend with this is grabbing a pump for $1.95 – it’s a bastard to get out of the bottle without one. I put a couple of pumps of this into my dry hands, then rub my hands together briefly and massage it into my face (again dry, don’t add water to anything yet!) for quite a long time, as long as I have time for really. A minute is great. Take this opportunity to give yourself a lovely facial massage. I find this really soothing and therapeutic. Use your fingertips, be gentle but firm, go in small circles. Rub into your eyebrows and as close to your eyes as you like, this is TOTALLY personal. I know some people hate having oil cleansers near their eyes but I don’t mind it, and find that it always gets rid of any excess that has been left behind after the micellar water. After you’ve given it a good massage and you feel like you’ve really lifted up all the makeup on your face, wet your hands thoroughly and go back in with the rubbing. This will turn the oil into a kind of milky consistency. I then use a muslin cloth or any cloth that’s soft and not overly scratchy to remove the oil and water and makeup mixture from the skin, thoroughly. My absolute all time favourite cloths for this are the Mecca Clean Slate Cleansing Cloths. One side is a muslin-style loose weave cotton and the other is a suede type material which is brilliant for the delicate eye area.

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They’re extremely durable and machine washable unlike your usual bought-from-Spotlight-and-cut-into-pieces muslin cloth – this is a great thing for value, it’s about $2.50 a metre, but they go a bit funny in the wash if you don’t wash them in a delicates bag. I often give my face cloths a good soak in some napisan etc before they go into the wash, just to make sure all the crud gets out. Whichever cloth type you use, don’t re-use them before washing them. Straight in the laundry hamper ladies! And blokes.

Okay so, I know I said I loved the Aesop cleansing oil and I do. But I have been cheating on it lately with one of my latest loves. I did talk about this in a previous blog post, the February Favourites, but I’m going to mention it again because it’s in this lot of products. It’s the Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly, $54 from Mecca.

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It is wonderful stuff. It’s not quite an oil, but kind of a balm/gel/oil hybrid. It’s very dense and thick, and requires a bit more working in than the Aesop oil, but it probably works just a smidge better. It’s faster and more effective at removing makeup. However, it’s not amazing value. For your money you get not much – about 100mL, half of the Aesop amount. But it is great stuff, and I’ll be repurchasing it. For an amazing, clever and full review of this product check out my beautiful friend’s blog post about it on AllThatFrouFrou.com.

The final step is just using your usual cleanser to get rid of any makeup / oil remnants. To be honest, I do this step maybe 50% of the time. Sometimes I feel very thoroughly cleansed already and just don’t want to add more stuff to my face. But I know that people say it’s quite an important step so I try to remember to do it! My current cleanser is the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser ($54 from Mecca), recommended for oily to normal skin. I definitely would NOT use this if I had dry skin. But for combo skin it’s lovely!

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I wasn’t sold at first but now that I’ve been using it consistently I do find it mostly does what it promises which is – ‘This cleanser purifies the skin, tightens pores, and supports natural collagen and circulation with natural essential oils to tone and balance the skin. It detoxifies, minimizes pore size, and helps you achieve a flawless, “ceramic-smooth” complexion.’ I say “mostly” because I’m not sure about ceramic-smooth – perhaps if your skin is pretty smooth already? And I have crater-pores so I’m not sure about that either but still, the rest is about right. Is it worth the money? Well you get a decent amount and only need a little bit, so I would say probably. If you have a cleanser that’s working for you though, I suggest you stick with it.

As with all cleansing routines, following up with a moisturiser is essential. I also love a toner but that’s just me, I know people are sometimes pro toners and sometimes not. I’m pro. My current love is the Ren Clarimatte toner. But at least moisturise, and do it well. Night time moisturising is essential!

Thanks for reading. Please, as always, I welcome all feedback!

Off to Sydney on Monday for my visa interview. I am hoping to be given a visa! Cross your fingers for me, dear readers.

Love+++

Beauty: February Favourites – Better Late than Never?!

The last few days, nay, weeks, have been pretty hectic, I apologise for the radio silence. But I am back with a favourites post! Look to be honest, my skin’s in a bit of a mood at the moment so I’m only going to do a short one. I am also moving to the USA at the end of March so March will hopefully be a little early, or just won’t happen at all! Shit is CRAZY okay, I’m telling you. Ok let’s get this show on the road. Nude “Perfect Cleanse” Omega Cleansing Jelly This might just be one of the best things I have ever purchased. I frickin’ love it. It’s an oil-based cleanser, which is the best for removing makeup hands-down, so I was already interested. The description on the site reads: “Ideal for all skin types, this natural cleanser safely removes face and eye makeup leaving skin clean, smooth, and toned.” And you know what? It just does. It’s wonderful stuff. You squidge a bit of it out into your hands, rub it all over your face including your eye area if that’s your jam (it is def my jam, and it gets even waterproof mascara off brilliantly), give it a good massage* and then wet your hands with some warm water and rub that in. This turns the product into a kind of light milky texture, making it very easy to remove. I use a muslin cloth (my favourites are the Clean Slate Cleansing Cloths from Mecca Cosmetica but you can get plain muslin cloth from Spotlight for $2.50 a metre) and just smooth it all over my face until all traces are gone. I then follow up with a second, light cleanse with my normal cleanser. This stuff is so good that I sometimes forget to do that. It’s important though, if you have oily skin. If your skin is dry you may like the extra moisturising it leaves. It’s brilliant stuff. USA readers can get it from Sephora, in Australia it’s available from Mecca Cosmetica for $54. Worth every penny, though I will admit I find it doesn’t last very long.. That’s kind of a bummer. But I still love it SO MUCH I’ll definitely repurchase. *Facial massage is great for your skin. It boosts circulation and works the product in, and it feels really nice. Do it. Lisa Eldridge has a good facial massage video, linky. Rimmel Idol Eyes by Kate Moss Mascara I picked this up because I needed new mascara and I don’t buy expensive mascara. It was $10, introductory price. It’s gone up to $16.95 now. Ok I’ll admit it – the brush is weird. It’s like a wave shape. But you guys – I LOVE this mascara. It is so volumising and really lengthens the lashes. It’s more of a night time than a day time but it’s so great, I love it, it’s interesting and different and you should definitely buy it. Priceline has a great deal where you spend $20 and you get a gift with purchase with the Rimmel range so what’s not to love? Head in-store or grab it here. Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment Ok it’s finally time for me to talk about this product. It’s an expensive one, so I’ve given it a really good trial. And let me tell you guys, that trial was successful. Even the packaging is beautiful. Check it out! It’s lovely. The blurb on the product page says: “This hydrating treatment is formulated with key ingredients that plump the look of fine lines to reveal brighter, renewed skin, and support natural circulation to create a smooth, vibrant complexion.” Accurate, again. The fine lines thing I can’t strictly comment on, because I don’t have a lot of them, really. But the combination of gently exfoliating acids in this product plus the other skin-feeding ingredients like liquorice, arnica and lemongrass help to really brighten the complexion and improve skin texture. It’s the one thing from the Sunday Riley range (a few of which I am trying so far) that I am absolutely 100% sold on so far. The others are good, I just feel that they need a bit more time. This one was really instantly effective for me. It’s super firming, and has reduced the appearance of my pores. I put it on every morning before my moisturiser, giving I a few minutes to soak in before I put moisturiser over the top. You can also use it in conjunction with the Ceramic Slip cleanser as a treatment but to be honest they say to use 3 pumps and I’m just not keen on using that much of it at once. I’ve used about a 1/4 of it and I only got it at the beginning of February so it’s another one that isn’t amazing VALUE, however I will be buying again because it just works so darn well. I even feel like it has improved the appearance of my acne scars but I might be imagining things, who knows. It’s $125 from Mecca Cosmetica, also available from Sephora obviously. Jo Malone “Wood Sage & Sea Salt” Cologne This is a tough one to describe as I am bad at scents. But trust me, it owns. If you like fresh, spicy/herbaceous, slightly woody scents then you are going to love this one. Here’s a good description from Fragrantica: “Composition of the new fragrance, just like its name suggests, is composed of ambrette seed, sea salt and sage, along with red algae and grapefruit. ‘This fragrance is different for me’ – says Christine Nagel, perfumer of the composition. She adds: ‘Sea air is mixed with salty and mineral texture of sand and stones. As the scent of driftwood it has natural and fresh sophistication. A complex combination of wood and sea is in its essence. It provides the feeling of freedom and natural spirit.’” That’s a bit wanky but I do agree, it reminds me of the sea but it’s also quite citrusy in a non-sickly sweet way. There’s absolutely no sweetness to this one at all so if you tend towards sweet perfumes I would seer well clear. Jo Malone is the queen of fragrance and this is just another jewel in the crown. I also tried “Earl Grey and Cucumber” and it was lovely. I bought the travel size of this one from David Jones for $90 but it’s a decent size, and the 100mL sizes are double the price for double the volume. MAKES SENSE. I’m gonna buy a full size when I get to the USA because I wear this every single day – it’s a perfect daytime scent. It’s not really cheaper over there with the dollar conversion but it’s a pretty hefty bottle and it’s just more crap to cart, you know? 2 sprays of it is enough for each day so it does last quite awhile. Head on down to your local DJs and see if you can have a sniff of the Jo Malone range. You won’t regret it. NARS Audacious Lipstick in “Anita” Brief mention to this one because I have already raved about this range in general in my first lipstick manifesto post but I recently picked up this colour and I really love it. It’s a perfect “MLBB” (My Lips But Better) shade for me, it has quite a pink tone to it and that always tends to suit me best. It’s neutral but still provides warmth and colour, and I love the way it makes my skin look – a bit brighter, a bit warmed up, not too stark. It’s just “there”, in a lovely way. I swatched it, please observe my disgusting scaled claw (I ran out of my favourite hand cream, okay?!). It’s really nice. Grab it from Mecca for $44. SO ENDETH THIS POST Thanks for all the love and the patience while I was on cyclone / husband hiatus. You guys rule. Love+++