Travel Makeup – the Overpacker’s Guide to Trying Not to Overpack

I’m off to Washington DC next weekend for my husband’s college friend’s wedding. I’m really looking forward to it, I haven’t met a lot of Ray’s college friends.. or maybe any of them.. huh.. but anyway I have a cute navy dress and I’m ready to rumble. I’m having my makeup done on Saturday night for some drinks with my beloved DC area friends but I have to do my own (UGH!) Friday night and for the wedding on Sunday. So what the hell should I pack?

Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. I always, ALWAYS take too much dumb crap that I don’t even touch the entire time. I’m going to try, REALLY TRY, to slim things down but I’m also going to make a trip report and tell you guys what I decided wasn’t useful afterwards. So with no further ado let’s get into it.

First, check out my beautiful cosmetics bag…

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It’s SO BEAUTIFUL you can get this and others like it for $24 from Sephora

The boring stuff still needs to be packed. All this goes into a separate bag – it’s toiletries not makeup. Obviously. Ahem.

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CLEANUP DUTY

This brings me to an important point. Sample sizes, whether “travel size” deluxe samples or actual sachets, are your friend. Above you can see that I have a few of those. Tbh, normally what I try to do is wash my hair before I go and when I get back but this is a three-night trip and that’s probably just a smidge too long or at least it’s a risk of being too long, especially as I’m getting my hair cut on Wednesday and I won’t want to wash it on Thursday night. You can get the little sample pots from places like Amazon – I think I got a 10 pack of the little containers you see above that I have moisturizer and makeup remover oil in for $6. Don’t try to fill these up. Just squidge out enough to use for the trip. The rest is just wasted as it’ll go crusty after awhile anyway.  Anyway this is just the basics, onto the good stuff.

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Another little container of primer here (just a small amount, remember!). Well, ok, there’s three primers but I’m kind of a primer nerd. I like to use different ones in different places. Recently when Sephora had a little cute sample kit of NARS product as a coupon code I snatched it up. I love the NARS Light Optimizing primer and we all know how I feel about the eyeshadow primer. So those both came out of the box and went straight into the bag. I had to fight myself to leave the Urban Decay setting spray out and put in the teeny sample of the Skindinavian one!

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Base & Face

A little (refilled) pot of the original sample I got of my favorite long-wear foundation, plus a little squidge of a light coverage daytime foundation for Saturday. My number 1 concealer, a setting powder that’s super flat (god I love that packaging), sample size bronzer and my beloved NARS Deep Throat blush (MASSIVE thanks to my lovely friend Megan who got this as a sample size and sent it to me!). I have a sample size of Orgasm but I just don’t like it as much, tbh.

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Eyes

I chose the Revealed3 palette here because it’s light and flat, but I’ve since applied it as eyeshadow and it is pretty bad so I’m not going to take it. I’ll probably take my Stila Eyes are the Window palette even though it’s heavier. I jumped straight on a large deluxe sample coupon code with Sephora recently because it contained a tiny mini of my ride-or-die liquid liner, the Kat von D Tattoo Liner in “Trooper” as well as a mascara that I know my friend Mem loves, and therefore must be fab. I never pay for high-end mascara but I love getting deluxe samples of it! My trusty MAC Paint Pot in Painterly and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze and I’m good to go. See how good I’m being?! lol.

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Brows

One crayon (mini size, thanks Ipsy!), one pomade, one sample size powder. Hooooboy that was hard but it’s ok you guys I got this. Pshhwwww.

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Lips

Ok this is where I fell down a little, I’ll admit it. I probably have too much. But I can’t help it. Lips are my thing! One red (with matching liner), one pink, one nude and a primer. I may add more. I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I swore I’d never do that. Speaking of which…

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Brushes

I tried. I really did. But I need all o’ these. I can’t do the multi-use thing. It squicks me out. My one concession was blush and bronzer with the same brush, but that’s because I don’t wear tonnes of either. In fact I’m pretty impressed that I am only taking one foundation brush. Maybe I need another one. NO, STOP THIS… okay okay pshhwww ok I’m good.

What have I missed, do you think? Hair stuff is easy, I’ve got some texture spray and that’s pretty much all I ever use if I’m honest. I also have a little package of cotton pads, q-tips and a mini nail file plus some bobby pins and hair bands. Boring stuff.

So let’s summarize:

  • Store up your samples that you get from things like beauty boxes and online orders. I have two sample boxes – one for stuff to give away and one for things I want to eventually use. I raided that.
  • If you see a gift with purchase or coupon code etc with a sample or travel size of a product that you KNOW you will use, get it. They’re so handy, and it means you can leave them in the travel bag rather than unpacking every single thing and returning it to your stash.
  • If you’re decanting into smaller containers, just take a little at a time so it doesn’t get all gunky when you don’t use it all. So wasteful! You can always refill it for next time.
  • Just take things you are pretty sure you’ll use. I thought about taking my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and my Kat von D Shade & Light palette but I’m still learning how to use them so I’m not going to bother – I know traveling is not the time for this nor is a wedding. End of story!

I’d love to hear if you guys have tips, tricks and pointers for me for makeup travel. After this I’m not sure we’ll be going anywhere until Chicago so that’s a long time to think about what I’ve done.

EDIT: I did a test pack of putting the stuff in the bags and it turned out GREAT, the bags are full enough but not overstuffed. OBSERVE:

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Happy Sunday/Monday, lovers.

Love++
F&V

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Think Your Tube of Gunk is All Gone? THINK AGAIN.

Sorry for the clickbaity title but guys, I have to share something with you.

The other day I noticed that my tube of NARS Pro-Prime eye primer was getting low. I would put the applicator in and not much would come out. I added it sadly to my Sephora “likes” in preparation for my next order (sadly because it’s kinda pricey). Then I was watching a video that ViviannaDoesMakeup did in which she admitted to using the breadknife to saw her tube in half and get the remainder depotted into a little travel container. I thought, hey why not, if there’s a smudge or two left that’ll save me some dough.

The tube looks like this:

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Image from Pinterest

It’s about the size of a large lip gloss tube, and to be fair it has lasted me ages and I use it every time I wear makeup (most days) so I think that’s fine.

Off I went to saw away with my breadknife (sorry, husband) and lo and behold there was HEAPS left. I filled an entire small travel container. FILLED IT. I just used the actual applicator to scoop it out and put it in the jar. LOOK.

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There’s like a year’s worth of products in there. AT LEAST. You only need a tiny bit!

I’m so happy that I can save my dollars for quite a long time, but I’m kinda cranky that such an expensive product has such garbage packaging. How many people have tossed their tube of this when it was half full?

Anyway, that’s a pro tip from me to you. Happy nearly-Friday!

Love++
F&V

Is it a Dupe? Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge v. Beauty Blender

I haven’t done one of these in awhile so I thought I’d compare these two products, since I very recently caved and bought a Beauty Blender for the first time.

Beauty Blenders are pretty famous cult foundation and concealer application items and I’m not sure why I held out for so long, but it’s over now and I have one. I thought I’d do one half of my face with each one to see what I thought.

I’ve had one of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponges (ugh god that’s a mouthful I’m dropping the Miracle) for awhile now, not that I use it super often, I just find that brushes are so much faster it’s hard to justify fussing around with a sponge. Here are the two products side by side, in their totally dry state:

2015-08-19 13.41.27 HDROrange: RT Complexion Sponge; Pink: Beauty Blender

To use them both you need to soak them, really thoroughly, with cold water. I do this under running water from the tap, squeezing and expanding them til they’re fully soaked then I squeeze all the water out and press between a towel to really make sure there’s no excess water.

When they’re dry, the BB does feel a little bit more firm to me. But when I wet them, I really couldn’t tell a difference. I tried really hard – I held them both up and closed my eyes and squeezed many times like some insane swami. I really couldn’t tell a difference.

Let’s get started. Here’s my no-makeup-just-moisturizer face.

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Hormonal pigmentation at its finest

I used one of my favorite liquid foundations, the YSL Fusion Ink foundation. I despise the applicator on this bottle (it is basically a stick?) so I poured some out onto my palette (ie the inner lid part of a Mason jar).

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First up I did the right side of my face with the RT sponge. I dabbed a little of the product on my face in key areas first. For both these products it’s best to use a patting, dabbing, pressing motion. Daubing? Is that a thing? Idk. This gives the best result in terms of a flawless finish. I used the flat section for the larger parts of my face like my cheeks, and the pointy bit for nearer my eyes and each side of my nose, and the rounder side for my temples and jawline (on the jawline I used a little more of a gentle, short swiping motion to bring the foundation down my neck a little bit).

2015-08-19 14.31.51Pretty good coverage IMO!

I forgot to take a pic of that side with no makeup, sorry. But here’s the left side without makeup:

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Here’s a “during” shot of using the beauty blender on the left side:

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Why do I have a Justin Bieber expression on my face?

So you can see that I’ve dabbed a little foundation on my face first and I’m pressing it against my skin in quick motions to blend it out. If you have a foundation that dries fast you will need to do this in sections.

Here’s the left side done:

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Also pretty amazing coverage – it’s hard to say which is best but if I had to make a call, I’d say the side with the beauty blender. I will say though, that I found the beauty blender a little slower on the blending. It took me a little longer. I’m wondering if that’s because the surface area touching your skin is a little smaller with the BB? I’m not sure, but it’s super negligible and I wouldn’t even consider it a problem it’s just something to note.

So here’s the side by side of just foundation done:

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And here’s the finished face makeup + brows:

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My conclusive thoughts are that these are both really excellent products. There is one major difference though, and that’s the price. In the USA you can get both these from a bunch of places (for example from Sephora) but it retails for $20 so it’s up there in price. I have heard too that with frequent washing (which you should ABSOLUTELY DO by the way – every time you use it, it’s a wet sponge and it can harbour nasties!) it starts to come apart but that might be a result of washing too vigorously. It also fades and the color runs but meh, no biggie. The RT complexion sponge you can get for $6 (from official site). Less even on places like iHerb.com. So the price difference is enormous and I’m not 100% sure that the BB is worth the extra $14.

In Australia you can find the BB at CrushCosmetics for $27, and the RT Complexion Sponge at Priceline for $16.99 if you can’t wait for shipping, or on iHerb.com for $8.20 (in fact you can get the two-pack on iHerb for less than the cost of one at Priceline. iHerb owns). So the price difference is ridiculous. Based on that alone I will probably repurchase the RT sponge and not the BB. It’s not that great!

A note on washing: use something like baby shampoo or I know some swear by Dr Bronners Castille soap bars (I’m going to get some today!) as a dupe for the official beautyblender cleansing bar. You want something thoroughly clarifying, I’m not sure face wash would do the job. Wet, damp environments attract bacteria so make sure you do this every time you use it – wash it under a warm tap, adding a little cleanser when it gets squeezed out until the water goes clear. This goes for both products.

So is it a dupe? I think yes. They’re almost identical. A more sophisticated user may think differently but for me they’re basically the same and the price point makes the RT sponge the clear winner.

I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know if I should do more things like this in the future.

Love++
F&V

New Makeup Monday: Kat von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow

A quick note on posting: lately I’ve been really slack on blog posts and I realised that one of the main reasons for that is that I always make such LONG posts. So that has to stop, I’m going to try to post short posts more regularly – I hope that’s okay! The long posts are exhausting and time consuming and anything that makes me AVOID posting on my blog can get straight in the bin.

Onto the subject at hand! You guys know I love Kat von D products. I really do. I love the products themselves (well, most of them), I love the packaging, I love the marketing and just give me everything forever. I also love bold metallic/shimmery eyeshadows so natch I was SUPER excited when I saw that the brand was releasing some!

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I went to Sephora at JCPenney and swatched them and omg I was in LOVE. I forced myself to choose ONE. I chose Synergy, a bronze/copper (closer to bronze really) because it spoke to me and because I’ve been wearing a lot of those shades recently.

I wore it to work the next day and although it creased a LITTLE bit, it’s worth noting that everything does on me. Next time I wear it, I’m going to wear a little of the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze underneath, because that stuff is amazing and they’re basically the same color.

The shadow was SO pigmented and smooth and easy to blend, I knew I had to have another. So when I went to Sephora Albany I picked up Raw Power, a burnt red/burgundy.

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Here they are swatched together:

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I am sorry to say that I only have really too-bright sunshiney pictures of these on, that don’t do them justice! I’ll post them anyway but I promise to take more decent pictures and post them on Instagram (@freedomandvanity) this week for you guys.

2015-08-17 17.44.55Synergy

2015-08-17 17.44.28Raw Power

Next I’m going to pick up Thrasher, a gorgeous antique gold and Black No.1 which is a metallic dark grey/black.

If you think these sound cool, you can pick them up at Sephora for $21 and in Australia at Sephora too I would think.

Thanks for reading! As always, throw me some ideas for new posts if you like!

Love++
F&V

Drugstore Haul and Product Review: Hits & Misses

I got an email yesterday from CVS saying I had extrabucks that were about to expire. For those not familiar, you earn extrabucks when you buy things at CVS and it’s basically like a voucher. Free money?! Drugstore spree time. Wheeeeeeeeeee

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Ok so when I got home I decided to just try out the new things I have, as well as some other items I’ve obtained recently. First up I applied some TooFaced Hangover Primer and NARS eyeshadow primer, then I put some of my new Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation.

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I gave a sample of this a pretty good go before I bought it so I was already pretty happy with it. It’s not too matte, not too glowy (though the Hangover primer does make it a little more glowy) but has a satin finish. It’s a good every day medium coverage foundation. Obviously not drugstore but it’s a recent purchase and I didn’t buy any foundation today.

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All looking okay so far, let’s continue.

I had heard good things about the Maybelline Better Skin corrector/concealer from a few beauty youtubers so I grabbed it today in the shade “light”.

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I applied it under my eyes, between my brows, on some blemishes, on my chin, above my cupid’s bow and at the sides of my nose/nostril area – don’t we all get that bit of redness? I was really pleased with how easily this product blended out using the Real Techniques contour brush.

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Not bad! Ok, next up is the Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless powder in 220/Natural Beige, applied with another new purchase – the Real Techniques Powder Brush. Recently it occurred to me that the RT Blush Brush is actually great for blush so I stopped using it for powder. This left a powder-brush shaped hole, so I picked this little number up today.

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Decent color match, I decided to see how it wore before I made any snap judgments. And look, the truth is, I don’t love it. I feel like my pores are actually emphasised (picture later) rather than made ‘less’ and I got shiny pretty fast. I don’t want to immediatly dismiss it though, I’m going to try it with a pore-minimising primer and see how that goes before I throw it in the trash. The brush is lovely and exactly what I wanted – soft and loose but still dense enough to pick up enough product to make a difference.

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Next I applied the deluxe sample size of Tarte’s Park Ave Princess bronzer with my ELF Complexion Brush.

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I like this brush because it is paddle shaped so it’s great for applying bronzer to the cheekbones, temples and forehead areas and for blending out as well.

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This bronzer is okay. It’s got nothing on the MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural so I probably won’t reach for it too often but it will be a good one to keep in my handbag or travel makeup kit.

The above photo also has my brows done with this sexy little number – the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Ash Brown. This is a FANTASTIC dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. GREAT product!

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Onto eyes. As mentioned earlier I already applied some primer, and this primer is tried and true. Today I bought the Rimmel ScandalEyes Eyeshadow Stick in Naughty Navy.

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I’m really into navy at the moment, even more than usual! Ok, on it goes.

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First impressions: it applies really easily, but the pigmentation isn’t great and it’s quite hard to get a smooth appearance. Also I noticed as soon as I blinked, even after letting the product dry for a good 30 seconds, it got all messed up.

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I decided to put some of my trusty L’Oreal Infallible shadow on in All Night Blue just to set the eyeshadow stick.

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Marginally better but I sorta don’t think there’s any saving this eye crayon, it’s just really bad. Glad it was cheap. Not impressed.

I picked up the Rimmel Exaggerage Full Colour Lip Liner in Obsession, a dark wine color. I already have EastEnd Snob in this product which I really love so I was keen to grab another one. The lipliner went on nicely as expected. I then applied Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Black Cherry.

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It’s pretty nice, I like that it applies nice and smoothly and doesn’t pull the lips around like some more matte lipsticks can. This isn’t matte as you can see, which is a fun change for me. But it is a smidge patchy. It requires a few coats. I found it to wear well though and it stayed comfortable so this is a winner. The slightly melon-ish smell really doesn’t do it for me but it definitely fades very quickly so that’s a bonus. This will be a great product for winter because it doesn’t dry out the lips.

In brighter light:

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So that’s the finished look. I wanted to add a closer-up photo of the eye and inner-cheek area to highlight the products I found problematic.

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Yeahhhh… not great. Check out those pores. Who were they testing the “poreless” aspect of this powder on, exactly? And what good is a “waterproof” eye crayon when it sets like this?

But the lipstick is lovely, the brow crayon ROCKS and the concealer is great too.

I also bought a set of the Sally Hansen MiracleGel polish, in Teal Twin with the top coat. I applied it and it’s nice. Is it a gel-like finish? Frick no. No, nope, not at all. It’s precisely and exactly like a normal nail polish with a shiny top coat. Meh.

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It’s fine. But it’s not gel. It’s just not!

Ok team that’s it from me today. Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing!

Love+++
F&V

July Favorites: Beauty etc

Hello welcome back, finally I’m getting around to doing a favorites! I skipped June because honestly I was grasping at straws with regards to things I wanted to talk about, so I couldn’t really consider any of them “favorites”.

I actually had quite a lot to talk about this month! I narrowed it down to some things that have REALLY been impressing me.

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First up is the MAC 187 brush. It’s a large duofibre stippling brush. I have actually had this brush for over a year – Ray bought it for me at my request from MAC in the Guam international airport when he was moving to Australia. I used it a couple of times and kinda didn’t really “get” it. I think I was using it to apply powder? I just read that it was a popular brush so I bought it. I stopped using it and didn’t pick it up again, until recently when my friend mentioned that she gets her base flawless by using stippling techniques.

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A “duofibre” brush is one where there are two kinds of bristles quite defined from each other. In this case, and most cases, the black bristles really have no function apart from holding the white bristles straight and up because lemme tell you those white bristles are SOFT and extremely flexible. So the reason I’ve been loving this little baby lately is for applying a more natural base. The light, soft bristles just seem to really move the product around on my face in a gentle, sheer way rather than the more full coverage application of a buffing brush, EFB or flat topped kabuki that is my usual preferred method. So if you’re looking for a luxe purchase for a natural finish, give this qt a try, you won’t regret it! It’s $42 from MAC USA and …$85 in Australia?!?!!? COME ON MAC that is RIDICULOUS. Now I remember why I had Ray pick it up for me. Hmph.

Next up we have the moisturizer that’s been saving my skin. Well, maybe not, who knows really but it is at least not breaking me out, and my skin is great (for me) at the moment. I feel like when I don’t wear makeup my skin is just comfortable almost all day, then as per normal it’s a little oily at the end of the day because that’s just how my skin is – no big deal.. Anyway it’s the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lotion. It’s light and almost a gel/cream in consistency so it sinks in really rapidly and I’m just in love with it.

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First Aid Beauty is a brand that is formulated especially for sensitive skin which is why I felt safe buying it. I bought the travel size but it is massive, to the point where I worry that they sent me the wrong size.. And how big is the normal size? This will take me months to get through and I will happily repurchase, it just does what it says on the pack, nothing more nothing less and that’s really what I wanted. You can pick up this size for  $7.50 from Sephora and there’s obviously bigger sizes there too, or in Australia from Adore Beauty for .. wait they only have the Ultra Repair Cream which is a bit heavy for me (at least in summer – in winter I may need it!) so you can grab it from BeautyBay for about $30 (for the larger size!). BeautyBay is a UK site but they do free (slow, IME) shipping to Australia. Sweet!

A favorite for the month that needs little introduction is the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette.

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I’ve already done a post on it so I’m not going to really go into it here but I think it’s absolutely wonderful and I don’t regret buying it at all! I just want to creepily stroke the gorgeous packaging allll the livelong day. Sigh…

Anyway ahem. Where were we… oh yes. Things that are good.

I bought the most gorgeous candles from a cute little website called PF Candle Co this month! Well I only bought one but they sent me another little tealight sample size of another one.

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I bought the scent “Amber & Moss” because it sounded interesting, and I was right, it is really interesting! It’s kind of .. earthy and .. herby.. with a lemon edge? I don’t know how to describe scents clearly but it’s just really different and I love it. It is not overpowering in the small space either, it just gives a very light fragrance and the amber glass jars give a really lovely warm light as well. I got the mini size for this which is still decently sized, and has about a 20 hour burn time. I’m going to obviously repurpose the jars! The minis are $11 and the larger size ones are $18. Explore the range here! PS. I may or may not have three more scents to try on the way.. I couldn’t help it!

When I went to Sephora in Montreal, I had my makeup done by a lovely man by the name of Matthew and the lip color he used on me rocked my world so much I went back the next day and bought it. It was Marc Jacobs New Nudes in Role Play and it’s soooo gorgeous.

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The consistency is so creamy and moisturising but not sticky at all. It’s a satin finish so not gloss or matte – somewhere in between. The packaging is glorious – there’s a magnetic snap lid and the sleek, oval container with minimalist logo is super classy. I always feel very fancy when applying this! On the website it’s called a “sheer lip gel” and I don’t know that I’d really agree with that, it’s still a decent amount of pigmentation and though it’s smoother than your usual lipstick it’s not a gel consistency in any sense of the word IMO.

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The color is a gorgeous blush/pink/nude – a very MLBB color for me but perhaps a little more pink on other people…

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They’re kinda pricey at $30 from Sephora or maybe even Sephora in Australia as well but WHO COULD KNOW because even though it says there’s MJ products there, it’s impossible to know whether they have this exact thing. Get online shopping already you twats. Ugh!

I know we already talked about the Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil but too bad, I’m talking about it again because it frickin owns.

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It’s a really liquidy oil that spreads super easily and works really fast to remove ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL your makeup. It’s seriously amazing. It leaves my skin feeling so soft, but doesn’t leave any residue. I have been using this almost every day and I will be buying the full size when I finish my mini size. The mini is $10 from Sephora (it’s still a decent size – will take me a couple of months to get through) and the larger size is $28 so pretty reasonable – not available in Australia as far as I can tell though. Sorry team!

The last item is one I’m still trialling because the full size product is pricey and I’ve been burned before.. it’s the Nude Skincare Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil.

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Sephora has this in both small sample form and in deluxe sample form at the moment and I’m going to be pretty dodgy and order several times before it inevitably runs out I think so I can really make sure it works for my skin. But I will say this – it smells AMAZING and feels really good massaged into the skin. Come to think of it, I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and my skin is looking pretty great. The scent reminds me of the Clarins Lotus Oil which is a classic and something I used for many years. It’s herby and fresh and I really like it. Nude Skincare seems generally pretty awesome tbh, I look forward to trying more of their stuff. It’s $68 here in the States at Sephora and in Australia you should be able to get it soon at Mecca Cosmetica – it’s pretty new here so I assume it will make its way to Australia on the usual majestic sea-turtle drawn chariot that always seems to cart the best products to Australia.. that’s the only way I can explain how long things take to get there. Hello companies, pls be informed that planes exist. I know you don’t want to put the sea turtles out of a job but look they have a lot of other skills and… ugh forget it (thanks to Mem for helping me build that metaphor).

Ok so that’s that, I’m going to try to do another post on Monday after my trip to Albany for the Sephora VIB Rouge (I MADE IT) closed-door event. Wheeeeee!

Have a great weekend loves.

Love+++
F&V