Review / How To: Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette (+ a Word on Photography Apps)

So wow, hasn’t the internet been blowing up about this palette!? As a smoky eye lover, I was pretty excited when Urban Decay announced it.

However, I really wanted to be sensible about this rather large purchase ($54 at Sephora) so I thought about it carefully. I also wanted to swatch all the colors to see if there were any duds (I have found some UD shades to be really chalky and chunky in the past).

Last Friday I was in Burlington, VT and woke up in my hotel room with a sense of excitement. I knew today was the day. UD Naked Smoky day! I was going to see it in real life and maybe, if we were compatible, it would come home with me. Ahhhh!

Aaanyway, I looked it up online that morning and it looked like the Burlington Sephora didn’t have any in stock which was kind of horrifying but I decided to check it out anyway because I wanted to pick up some of the TooFaced Hangover Primer (which incidentally was NOT in stock). Wouldn’t you know it, when I walked in to the Sephora inside JCPenney the first thing I saw was a beautiful display piled high with light grey, beautiful boxes full of joy and happiness AHHH! Ok calm down Fran *deep breaths*

The SA asked if she could help and I said YES and asked to see the insides of the palette. She presented an open one to me like the precious treasure that it was – with reverence and deference and respectfully downcast eyes. As I swatched the shadows, I got more and more excited. They were gorgeous. Pigmented, smooth, buttery.. you know, I really never understood what that adjective meant with regards to makeup until that moment. But now I do.

Natch, I bought it. And it owns. Allow me to explain.

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So I don’t need to tell you guys about the Urban Decay Naked palette history. Everyone knows they’re the most popular “neutrals” palettes on the planet. This is actually my first one though! I had Naked Basics 2 but I never used it, I wasn’t a huge fan. But this one, I really love. Maybe that’s because I always gravitate towards a more dramatic eye look? Who knows. But anyway, let’s get to the swatchin’.

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Top to bottom: Thirteen, Combust [these are hard to see, they’re both very light], Whiskey, Password, Smolder, Black Market, Dagger, Slanted, Armor, Radar, Dirtysweet, High.

There’s a good mix of matte and shimmer shades here. Black Market is ALMOST matte, it’s got a very very light sheen to it that’s barely there. Password, Whiskey, Combust and Thirteen are all matte. The rest are shimmery. The only one that doesn’t really do it for me is High, it’s a little on the chunky side and therefore needs to be carefully worked with which isn’t really ideal for the inner corner (where I think High would be best used). The rest are just glorious and I love them all.

I have done three looks with this palette so far, I’ll talk them through one by one.

Look 1:

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For this one I laid down a base of Combust over the entire lid up to the browbone using the RT 200 brush (or any large shadow brush), then using the brush that came with the palette (the pointy end – from now on this brush will be called the NS brush) I added some of Armor to the inner corner, leaving the center of the lid bare, then with the other end of the NS brush I added Armor to the outer corner as well. I did this in a couple of layers, building up the color til I had as much pigmentation as I wanted. I also used the pointy end to wrap a little of Armor around under the lower lashline and smudged it out. I then used the blending brush end to blend Armor into Combust, but taking care not to blend too far into the center part of the lid. I then used a flat eyeshadow brush to add Dirtysweet to the center section, really laying down a decent amount of color. Back to the blending brush to blend those two colors at the edges, not completely, just so there were no harsh lines. I made sure that all the colors were nicely blended upwards and out at the outer corner. I added a little bit of Password to the outer corner, as a bit of a transition shade to make sure that Armor blended out smoothly. Then I carefully lined my upper lashline and lower lashline (leaving the center bare again) with the UD Perversion eyeliner but any black eyeliner will do just fine for this – it happens to be my favorite so that’s what I used. I again grabbed the pointy end and smudged that out, added mascara (IT Cosmetics Tightline) then I was done.

The advantage of doing this is that the center of your lid is lighter, meaning that your eyes stay more open looking especially if like me you have small, deep-set eyes. Plus it’s just a really cool effect!

Look 2:

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This one’s obviously a lot darker, and you can already see that it makes my eyes look more closed and small. I don’t really mind, it’s just something to note compared to the first look.

For this I laid down a base of black cream shadow – Maybelline Color Tattoo in Dramatic Black using my fingers and blending out with a MAC 217 just to make sure the colors really stood out and had something to stick to. I then used Password all over the lid fairly lightly then added Smolder over the top, both with the NS blending end, which is a really cool purpleish color. I then picked up some Black Market and blended that in little circles on the outer corner again with the blending end of the NS brush. I used Black Market to wrap around the lower outer lashline as well with the pointy end. I added a little bit of Slanted on the inner corner using the pointy end of the NS brush just to add some reflection and light. I again picked up the UD Perversion liner and lined my upper lashline and lower lashline/waterline, and then used the pointy end to smudge this out and pull a little out for a wing on the outer corner. I used a q-tip to clean up the outside corner,  giving the wing area a little more sharpness. Again with the same mascara and I was done.

Look 3:

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My husband was making me laugh with this – he wouldn’t get out of the background of my selfies! :3

So I toned it down a little for this one, just a little, there’s still some smoke there. I used the RT 200 brush again to do a base of Whiskey over the mobile lid, then used Radar over the whole lid with the blender end. Radar is a really cool reflective warm brown shade, I really like it. I picked up some Armor (probably my favorite shade, it’s a gorgeous cool greyish brown shimmer) for the outer corner to add some more depth then used the same shade to wrap under my outer corner lashline using the pointy end of the NS brush. I added some of Slanted in the inner corner, but it wasn’t really light enough so I also added some High. I own the UD 24/7 liner in Whiskey to match the eyeshadow shade so I used that to lightly line my upper and lower lashline and dragged it out again to form a bit of a wing – though now that I see the close-up pictures on my computer I could have done a better job of that! To finish off I added Thirteen on the browbone just to make sure that was looking all nice and bright.

I tried a new mascara with this look, the fancy one I got with this month’s boxycharm (MDMflow Greater Than Mascara) and lemme tell you, it is garbage. As you can see in the picture it basically does nothing. Not impressed at all. It’s expensive too! Glad I didn’t pay for it because it truly sucks. Boxycharm actually had to send out an email with a set of instructions on how to “prime” it (shake it and pump the wand a lot) but even with doing that, it’s bad. Bad bad bad!

So those are my three looks. The possibilities really are endless with this palette. It’s super versatile. I’m so happy I bought it. I can really see myself getting a lot of use out of this palette!

Now onto another thing I wanted to discuss. I was watching a beauty youtuber the other day as she talked through how she takes her selfies and how she edits them. She said that she relied a lot on an app called FaceTune to make her skin look flawless and get rid of imperfections, and to change the shape of her nose a little bit. This kinda surprised me and I knew I needed to check out this app myself, she was raving about it!

So I checked it out and let me tell you something: this app is evil. This app is the One Ring. It has the potential to be used for good but the point is that most of us don’t have the will to use it that way. I made an example for you guys.

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HOLY SHIT I LOOK AMAZING I NEED THIS APP FOR REAL LIFE

Pretty big difference and about 15 seconds of work. EVIL APP! My husband and I discussed whether it was even ethical to use it for blog pictures. I also talked it through with my dollies (friends on a forum where there’s a makeup/beauty thread) and the same conclusion was reached: that if the product being reviewed is being altered by an app like this, that’s bad and wrong. For example, if I’m reviewing a foundation and I use this app to blend out some imperfections then that’s really dishonest. A few people said that they like my blog BECAUSE I don’t do any of that stuff, I don’t over-edit my images (or really edit them at all tbh but that’s partly because I have no idea how) and they can see how these products look on a real person rather than someone who has ‘shopped their pictures to infinity. Is that to say that I won’t ever use it? No. I might use it to blur out an imperfection that’s unrelated to the product I’m discussing. For example if I do an eye look and have a pimple that is distractingly huge, or if my melasma is really dark, or if I have red marks or little baby hairs around my lip area (because I’m human) and I feel they detract from the lip product I’m reviewing, then I might minimally use this app or a similar one to bring those down a notch or two.

It would be so easy to use this app for every photo I take. My self-esteem is begging me to use it. I wish I could use it for everything and feel “right” about it, but I just don’t.

That is my promise to you, dear readers. I’ll never use an app like this to lie to you or stretch the truth. I’ll never give you unrealistic impressions or expectations about how a product will perform or look. My skin will never be perfect and the better work for me to do is to a) become more okay with that; b) improve my photography skills and c) improve my makeup application skills! I hope we can all learn and grow together.

Don’t judge those makeup bloggers for using apps like FaceTune. It’s so easy to understand why they do it. I get it, and I am sending them all a lot of love in the hope they can one day apply it to themselves, from themselves.

Until next time!

Love++
F&V

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Review MegaPost: Pale Girl Self-Tan, Cleansing Oil, a Brow Pen & Drugstore Lipstick

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Wednesdays off are blog post days and there’s a few things I’ve been wanting to review lately, so I thought I’d condense them into one post. Hopefully this will stop me going on for too long about each product!

First of all, let’s talk about a much-reviewed product of late, the St Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower self-tanner.

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The pale, lazy girl’s ideal self-tanner.

I was very curious about this product for a very important reason: I am super, super lazy with self-tan. And the prime factor influencing this is that being tanned is just not a priority for me at all, I don’t really mind being pale. But I really like how I look with a very slight tan, for instance you can see my veins a little less and it disguises cellulite and all that good stuff. I am working on giving fewer fucks about cellulite but it’s still pretty cool when you can make it less obvious!

So the instructions for this product are to get in the shower, wash your body like normal (though if you use an oil or very moisturizing gel I’d recommend swapping to a normal soap – self-tans do not cope well with overly moisturized skin) then turn the shower off, apply the product with circular motions all over your body, wash your palms and wait 3 minutes. Then you just rinse and you’re done. They recommend during the 3 minutes you put a mask in your hair or something like that but I just turned the kitchen timer on and waddled around damp and slimy doing a couple of things because I have the (in this case) luxury of a tiny apartment where everything is close to the bathroom.

The tan then develops over the next 24 hours. When I first washed it off, there definitely wasn’t any evidence of a tan which was in line with what I expected. But overnight I definitely developed a light, even, natural tan. I SO wish I had taken before and after pictures. AMATEUR! It’s so light and natural that my husband couldn’t even tell I’d done it but I could definitely tell. It was just like I’d got a little bit of sun, a healthy amount, without the tan-lines. There were no yucky streaks or patches because the product has a slippy quality that makes it really easy to spread. There was no orange-ness or unnatural Dorito-hued aspects to this tan. Pro!

A few things: the smell of this product is not offensive at all. It does linger, I could smell it even the next day. It kinda reminds me of biscuits or scones or something like that. It didn’t last past my next shower and it wasn’t obvious to anyone but me.

The 3 minutes you have to stand around naked and damp could be a problem if it’s cold where you are, or just in your bathroom or whatever. It wasn’t really the case for me (New England is finally seeing summer!) so I didn’t mind at all.

If you are the kind of person who wants a nice deep tan, or who is ALREADY tan, then this product is not for you, not as a tanner anyway. I think if you wanted to extend your tan a little longer it could be perfect, but for US$25 I’m not sure how keen you’d be to pick it up.

Bottom line: it’s really easy to apply, it’s really natural and it’s really subtle. TICK TICK TICK DONE WILL PURCHASE AGAIN A+ PRODUCT! Grab it from Ulta or Sephora for $25.

Next up let’s talk about a very recent purchase for me, the Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil.

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I bought the mini (50mL) size of this to try it out to see whether I like it more than my current oil cleanser obsession (Nude Skincare Omega Cleansing Jelly). The product comes in a pump pack which already puts it above the other to me, but that could just be me.. anyway, I used a full pump and massaged it into my skin to remove my makeup and my first impressions were that the amount I used was WAYYY too much for my face, which is good news, means the product will last longer. I also felt that the smell was quite strong – it reminded me of eucalyptus which is a scent I enjoy but I worried that there would be an irritant oil or perfume in it. I also felt that it was a lot thinner in consistency to the Nude jelly but that wasn’t necessarily a negative, it spread a lot more easily but has the potential for more mess.

I used the same technique as always, giving my face a good massage with the product to break up all the makeup then wipe off with a warm, damp cloth.

I have to say, I really like this product a lot. I felt that it did a better job than the Nude product and will last longer. I waited a few days to write this review in case it broke me out but it hasn’t at all, and after using it my skin feels more soft than it does with the other product too, I don’t feel that I need to run straight to my moisturizer and slather it on immediately. I will be buying the full size of this (US$28, mini size is $10) when the mini runs out. Very impressed.

Next up, something I was not at all impressed with – the L’Oreal Colour Riche Le Matte Lipcolor Stick.

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When I posted on my fb that I had bought this, a fellow beauty lover said that the smell was unbearable for her. I’m not particularly sensitive to smells so I wasn’t too worried. Nevertheless I picked it up, uncapped the lid, brought the product up to my nose and nearly passed out. It is TRULY DISGUSTING. It smells like the worst kind of shitty plastic kids toys you can get from the crappiest stores. Like chemical laden play-doh. I decided to try it on anyway and look, I’m not gonna lie. It lasted about.. 2 minutes before I took it off. I literally couldn’t wear it, the smell was so strong. The application was also very patchy, I couldn’t get it to look smooth and even. I got the colour “Matte-r of Fact” which is a magenta pink and a really nice color but just .. no.

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Even in the swatch I had to go over and over it to make it come out an even color. This product sucks and unless you like that smell and patchy lipstick I just wouldn’t bother. If that sounds great to you, you can grab it from anywhere that sells L’Oreal or from Ulta for $10, congrats on being a huge weirdo I guess!

The final product is one that I’m going to return to Sephora for reasons that aren’t really to do with any failing of the product itself, but more of a systematic issue in brow products: STOP MAKING BROWN SHADES SO FRICKIN’ WARM, MAKEUP COMPANIES! GRRRRRRRRRRR! It’s the Kat von D Tattoo Brow Brush Tip Brow Pen.

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I bought medium brown which is the darkest shade and I’m so cranky at how red-toned it is, especially when compared to my dark-brow/black brow hairs because as a product it is GREAT. I really like how you can adjust the pressure to make the product work differently. A little bit of pressure paints the thinnest, finest hairs into where they might be missing from your brows, a little more pressure adds fullness and depth to the brow area in general. You can then brush out the brows to blend everything together for an overall full effect. Fantastic!

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But it’s so warm and it’s just really upsetting. There’s no darker color either so I can’t swap it. Please KVD, please create a cooler or just straight black brow pen. I love this product and it will suck to take it back. If your brow hairs are more of a warm brown then you can grab this handy little sucker from Sephora for $US19 and I recommend you do because it’s really great!

Heading off to the gym now. My next post is going to be about the Kat von D Shade & Light Eye palette and how to create 3 different looks using it. I hope the weather holds so I can take good pictures! One day I’ll get a good camera.. one day..

Love,
F&V

Makeup Startup, How To & Mini Product Review: the Eyebrow Post

Hello and welcome to a bit of a mashup post! Speaking of mashups, this post is brought to you today by the most excellent mashup album I have EVER heard, Isosine’s Mashup Manifesto IV which you can find HERE on BandCamp. It has been blowing my mind all day. Ed Sheeran v Sia? Fallout Boy v Taylor Swift? Come ON! Anyway, let’s talk about eyebrows.

I’m actually a pretty new brow-lover. I ignored them for a long time. I didn’t really think anything needed to be done apart from making sure they were waxed regularly. Then I started filling them and my whole world changed!

I will admit, I don’t really like the whole “instagram brows” trend. If you don’t know what that is, you can google it and you’ll see a lot of SHARP, perfect, sculpted brows with very straight edges and the inner part of the brow slightly faded out. Not only do I Not Have Time Fo Dat, I just don’t like how it looks on anyone let alone on me. That’s not to say that if you like it, you shouldn’t wear it – you know my deal, wear what makes you happy! I just can’t get into it. I like a strong, full, dark but still natural brow. So that’s my little disclaimer, let’s get on with it.

I gathered together my brow stuff thinking I’d just have a couple of things to photograph and then uhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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I have no idea how this happened. NO REGRETS

Anyway, I am not going to talk about all these things today. I thought I’d pick just a few things to run through.

Here’s my face makeup for the day, products and result. I went mostly high end here, but the brows lean more towards drugstore.

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The above photo contains my totally untouched brows. All I’ve done is run a wet q-tip through them to make sure they don’t have any foundation left in them. They’re not bad really – they don’t need heaps of work. Of course, the left one is way more of a mess than the right one – don’t we all have one naughty brow and one good?

Let’s talk about how I make the magic happen. First of all, a good brow brush. My absolute ride-or-die brow brush is the Anastasia Brow Brush. It has a great spoolie on one end and a sharp, fine, angled brush on the other end. You can see it near the tweezers in the picture. The other brow brush I got in a BoxyCharm box and it’s kind of garbage, the brow brush end is too “fluffy” make it really not exact at all but I might use it for travel or something (tossing things out is hard okay?). I always give my brows a good brush through with a spoolie before I do anything to them, and I strongly recommend this for everyone as a first step.

For the purposes of the review section of this post, I decided I would do one picture with JUST the two products I bought yesterday at CVS. They’re both “mascara wand” type brow products that promise to fill and define brows. They looked pretty similar to me but in saying that I couldn’t see the wands through the packaging. I bought the Rimmel Brow This Way brow styling gel in dark brown and the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in medium brown.

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The first thing I noticed when I started carefully brushing the Rimmel one through my brows is that the wand was a smidge too big to be useful for me, and the product was .. well there was a lot of it. It was a bit gloopy. I got a bit blorp of it right where I didn’t want it and it was just kind of a mess and took a lot of cleaning up. The color however was very good, nice and dark and not too warm (amirite, brunette girls? Why is everything for us so warm/orange?!). I did a bit of a cleanup (but not TOO much, I wanted this to be an honest image) and moved on.

Now, the next product was .. well.. look, I just really love it. The wand is tiny, and enables much more precision. The color is a little tiny bit lighter, but not by much, and it’s no warmer than the other one. Observe:

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I really must moisturize more often. D:

The top is the Rimmel, and you can see even in this picture how gloopy and “too much” it is. When I wiped this off, I noticed how even the staying power of the L’Oreal was better – it was harder to wipe off. The L’Oreal really is just a winner in every single way. It’s so much easier to use and still gives a great effect. Here’s the comparison pic.

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L: Rimmel; R: L’Oreal

So as you can see, the brow on (your) left is a mess. There’s stuff all over the place. The right is neater. HOWEVER! I still feel like, for me, these products aren’t quite enough by themselves. So I decided to wipe and start again, using one of my latest absolute LOVES, the IT Cosmetics Brow Power eyebrow pencil in “Universal Taupe”. They really mean it. Taupe is not a color I’d ever go for but it is actually perfect and I love it. This is a mini version that I got in an Ipsy bag and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be buying the full size when this one runs out. It is $24 so a little pricier than the other things in this post but well worth it IMO.

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In order to use this I just give another brush through with the spoolie end and then use the other end to fill in my brows. To do that I just use short, light strokes to make sure any more sparse areas are filled in and that my brows have a more defined shape. The tail ends of my brows don’t really trail to a point so I don’t do too much there, I just run over them quickly. This is actually weirdly hard to explain and I really recommend just playing with your technique to see what works for you! Speaking of which: if you’re new to filling in your brows you might find that the look is TOO strong. Trust me – it’s not. Just let your eyes get used to your face with stronger brows. It takes time. Take a picture and see what you think – guaranteed you’ll be like “oh yes that is actually great” or you might even think they need more filling in. Anyway here’s my brows just filled in with this product:

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P good IMO! After this I would pretty often use a clear brow gel to set them, something like the very cheap Ardell clear brow gel that I got from Priceline and pretty much swear by, or for a bit of extra color maybe the Maybelline Brow Drama which I really like. But now even that has been surpassed! The weird ball end of that wand has always been a bit strange to me, and the amazing little mini wand on the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper has taken its place in the pack. Here’s my brows after a quick brush through on top of the crayon:

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I pretty much love this product and strongly recommend grabbing it. It’s about $9 in the USA from any drugstore or Ulta, and hopefully also available in the usual places in Australia.

The stars of the show:

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HELLO, NEW DAILY BROW ROUTINE!

And here, have a bonus very-good-light pic with a lil bit of contour added for funsies (and practice):

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Loving myself sick, and I hope you are too on this fine Sunday/Monday.

Some more mini reviews coming soon – as always please let me know if there’s stuff you want me to ramble on about!

Love+++
F&V

Playtime Wednesday: Mineral Makeup, Black Liner, Lipstick and Unboxings..

This is going to be a bit of a mishmash!

A couple of weeks back, one of my lovely friends, Evelyn, who created Mineralis Cosmetics – an indie makeup brand based in the UK, asked if she could send me some of her products. I told her that would be lovely, as long as it was okay with her that I was 100% honest in my blog. Evelyn happily agreed, she has a lot of faith in her products.

With good reason. They arrived this week and I used them the next day for a full day of work. Evelyn sent 2 shades in case I needed to mix them and a translucent powder in a gorgeous little purple drawstring bag. Cutest!

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Mineral makeup has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I don’t get it. It’s just a powder? How does it work? Do you just dust it on? Do you mix it with water (yes, I literally thought this)? Evelyn patiently explained that I should apply it with a flat topped brush, after applying a dusting of the translucent powder in my oilier areas. So that’s what I did. I used no primer, just some moisturizer which I put on half an hour before I applied the makeup. I mixed the two shades together, which gave the perfect shade (well done Evelyn!). I dusted a little translucent powder again over the top. I used no concealer at all. Below is a picture of the freshly applied makeup and the 6pm appearance – no touchups.

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Different light – sorry! I tried!

There’s a totally normal amount of shine on my nose and the makeup has absorbed into my face a little bit but again that’s totally normal – my face likes to eat makeup. Even the absolute best and longest wearing makeup would be failing by that point. My t-zone is oily and makeup is not infallible despite what L’Oreal likes to tell us!

I played again today this time just adding a little bit of under-eye concealer before I put the foundation on. I did a before and after so you can see the amount of coverage with just a single “layer” application. Not bad for ground up rocks, huh?

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Before and after mineral makeup application

I’m going to keep trying this stuff out and seeing how it goes. So far I’m super impressed. These foundations are 6GBP which is drugstore prices for a great quality product. The translucent powder is 6.5GBP and you only need such a little bit, it’s a bargain. I really recommend checking Mineralis out! Link in first paragraph.

I decided after that that I’d play with the Maybelline Kajal black liner. I hardly ever line my entire eyes anymore, so as not to make my eyes look smaller. I then used a pencil brush to smudge everything out. Fun!

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Wow such dark so mystery

Then I dug around in my lipstick collection and re-discovered MAC’s “All Fired Up” retro-matte lipstick. This lipstick is SO MATTE that I sometimes find it hard to wear, which is why it doesn’t get pulled out very often. But the color is great so I put a bunch of balm on, waited a bit then applied the lipstick and it’s wearing really nicely so far.

FullSizeRender(1)Love dis red

I mean look at this color. It’s like a light, pinkyish red. I blurred out the edges with a q-tip, I’ve been into that lately, just to make the edges a little less stark.

I got my BoxyCharm today which was, tbh, kinda disappointing. It’s meant to be a luxury box and maybe it is but the only exciting thing to me is the Oscar Blandi silk serum. I waited all damn month (they billed me on the 1st of June) for this?!

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Ipsy was way better and half the price. But I might just be saying that because the Ipsy bag came with a brow pencil by IT Cosmetics which is a brand I like. It’s a great pencil too! I don’t like the nail polish though. I disagree with the “gel effect” claim, it chipped like less than 24 hours after wearing it.

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Anyway that’s my Wednesday of playing around and trying things out, and revisiting some favorites. I hope yours was nice! Have a great week, readers.

Love+++
F&V

Mini Reviews: New Lip Products at the Drugstore

This week I bought two new lip products at the drugstore with mixed results. The mix is that one of them is amazing and one of them is disappointing.

I’ll get the disappointing one out of the way first. Look, this is partly my fault. I saw something gimmicky and I knew I had to have it. When will I learn? It’s the Maybelline ColorBlur Cream Matte Pencil & Smudger. GASP! I know. I love Maybelline. They’ve never steered me wrong in the past. But this product is just silly – or I don’t get it. It’s hard to tell with me sometimes, I know. Please illuminate me if you think I’m doing it wrong!

Basically it’s a wind-up pencil (which in itself is a stretch, it’s a slim bullet rather than a pencil) with a weird.. eraser.. thing.. on the other end. Observe:

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Ummm.

One end is literally eraser material I’m not joking. So I guess what you’re meant to do is kind of put a bit on the inside areas of your lips then.. blend out with the eraser end? I really didn’t like it. For one thing the formula felt really bad, it immediately dried out my lips and spreading it thinner definitely didn’t help. It was patchy and hard to blend which is weird because isn’t that the point? I don’t get it. It looked weird and bad. See?

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This isn’t my impressed face

I mean, I feel like you could grab any good-formula-having lip product in your collection and blend it out with your finger and you’d get a way better effect. Gimmicky and weird. And it doesn’t last. Lemme tell you one thing Maybelline, if you’re gonna make me use a drying lip product it had best stay put all damn day. This didn’t. I think I reapplied like 5 times at work. Not cool Maybelline – I’m glad I had a lip gloss in my bag that I could put over the top or I would have gone mad. NEXT.

Ahhhh, this is better. Recently L’Oreal released a set of red lipsticks called “Color Riche Collection Exclusive Reds“. There are six in the set, they’re based on what a few celebrities consider their favorite, go-to reds. I picked up “Frieda’s Red”. And ooooh my god Frieda you nailed it. First up the packaging is glorious, it’s quite luxe even though it’s just matte black plastic. The gold accents and solid-click lid really do it for me!

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You may have noticed by now that it’s actually pink. GOOD JOB YOU! It is pink but sometimes people’s favorite reds are actually pinks, who am I to argue I say. I love a good pink lipstick and this one is glorious. It’s SO bright, rich and pigmented. It’s a satin finish (claims to be matte but I don’t agree) which is nice when your lips are a little on the dry side. It goes on beautifully and stays put if you do a couple of coats and blot (just the usual, no special technique required). My friend over at All That Frou Frou did a great review on a couple of the other colors (and this one) – check it out by clicking the link! If you’re not following ATFF already you bloody well should be, I’m telling you, girl is smart, gorgeous and knows her shit.

Anyway, I loved this lipstick so I did some silly poses out of sheer glee and frivolity.

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Needs more lifted eyebrow IMHO

This is an absolute winner for me, super creamy and pigmented but long lasting. I will probably pick up some of the other colors in this range.

These were both around the $9-11 mark at CVS. The L’Oreal product is definitely available in Australia. I’m not totally sure about the Maybelline one but I wouldn’t link you anyway, it’s not a good product IMHO.

Until next time!

Love+++
F&V

Brand Review: Shiro Cosmetics [+ GlamourDollEyes bonus review]

A few weeks ago, I got an extremely exciting package in the mail. My friend Jaime in Australia had told me she was sending me some things to review so I was ALREADY excited when I saw her name on the package, but when I busted it open there it was. The most beautiful sight. Not only a little bag full of lipstick samples but also the special edition Vegemite Cadbury block! Spoiler alert: it’s fantastic. Anyway I know that topic is controversial so let’s move on.

The first thing that I noticed about these lipsticks was that they had AMAZING names, I can’t wait to share them with you guys as we go along. I looked up the website for this brand and went straight to the about section. The more soft and squishy amongst us will be interested to note that this brand is 100% vegan and cruelty free. The products are blended by hand and packaged by two lovely ladies in Portland, Oregon. It really reminds me of Baroque Cosmetics actually (see previous brand review) in that a lot of the products are a bit on the nerdy side which is RIGHT up my alley.

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Important notes x 3: Jaime sent these to me because she likes my reviews (so flattering!) and wanted to see what I thought of these products. I have no affiliation whatsoever with the brand (nor does Jaime) and have not contacted them in regards to this post. Also, all product packaging pictures (apart from the sample pots obviously) are from the Shiro website and all photo credit goes to them (click on the photos to go to the product page!). The packaging is too awesome not to show off! Finally, I should disclose that I’m not much of a lip gloss wearer. You know me, I like my matte lipsticks. I find glosses a bit annoying and sticky. So keep that in mind as you read this review (at the time of typing this sentence, I have not tried them on).

So, let’s get on with it. Jaime sent me SEVEN lip glosses. I would like to apologize to my lips in advance for what I’m about to subject them to. At least it’s glosses and not lipsticks which can be very hard to remove!

The Thrill of the Chasez

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This is a mid-toned pink, it’s quite nice actually. It’s not too bubblegum-y, which is surprising because it smells SO STRONGLY of bubblegum. Kind of a turnoff for me. It’s a reallllly sweet scent, not sure how I feel about it. Actually I am sure: I don’t like it. But I’m not known for liking sweet scents, to be fair! The color is nice, it’s not super bright and it isn’t overly sticky – more slippery than anything. It doesn’t feel like a very thick, shiny gloss which is nice because I find those a bit … gluggy.

Nic Cage Posing for a Calendar with Shiny Bright Red Cars

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I LOVE the name of this one! Can’t go wrong with Nic Cage jokes IMO. I really like this color! I feel like it’s a bright enough red to do it for me, and also has an extremely subtle pearl to it which means that it makes my lips look quite full, and blurs out the creases in my lips a little bit. It is NOT glittery which is good, nothing I dislike more than glittery lip gloss. The flavor/scent of this one isn’t nearly as strong and is kind of a cherryish flavor – the website says cherry pie and I suppose that’s close enough! Yep, this one’s a winner and will be going into rotation. I feel like this could be lovely over the top of a bright red matte lipstick to give a bit of shine and moisture.

Justin Time

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Eeeeeee you guys know how I feel about Justin Timberlake. Ok you probably don’t: I love him. That’s how I feel. Ever since the days of Justified and even at some points in the reign of NSYNC although I was always more of a Backstreet Boys girl at heart. Anyway, this color is exciting already :3 I really like this one! It’s a little warmer than the reds that I’m normally attracted to, almost a warm-rich-red-pink*, but I like it and it’s extremely opaque for a lip gloss. It’s almost more of a gloss-finish lipstick. I’d be interested to see how the longevity of this goes, I may try that out later. It is scented like vanilla which is pleasant and not overpowering at all. Another winner.

*EDIT: I know it seems like a cool red here, but when I look in the mirror I swear it’s warm! D:

Nic Cage Nibbling Petit Fours in a Posh Victorian Tearoom

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Love it! I feel like this is a weird Nic-Cage-As-Pinup-Model fetish but I’m into it. I can get the heck behind that. The color is kind of a dusty, neutral, rosey color (the website agrees). It’s got enough brown in it to not be a Pink Gloss but isn’t too brown. It’s actually not a bad “MLBB” color for me. It’s not very opaque which is fine, I feel once again that this could be a lovely gloss atop something like Anita by NARS in the Audacious lipsticks range, to give some gloss and moisture.

Red Wedding

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As a huge Game of Thrones fan (I have some … complex feelings about the last season) I had a big grin when I saw the name of this one. Let’s hope I have better luck with this color than Robb Stark did at the aforementioned nuptial celebration (as you may be able to tell, I’m writing this as I try each one). Ok so this is an interesting color. When I first put it on, I was a bit disappointed because it looked really brown. But as I kept going and built the color up a little bit, I got more into it. It’s a deep burgundy. One thing about those kinds of colors is that my husband LOVES them on me, much more than I love them on myself. I trundled off to the kitchen to show him and, as expected, he basically jumped me (these are not transfer-proof, FYI 😉 ). So I started off kinda eh about this but turns out it’s a winner. The scent is a kind of sherbet sharp cranberry. One thing about it is that it’s kinda patchy, it takes careful application, though that may be different if you have the actual doe-foot applicator to use – I’m applying all these with a Mecca Cosmetica lip brush. This one is a keeper and I’m glad I have a larger sample size of it!

Seven Minutes in Kevin

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Speaking of Backstreet Boys! Lol. I love it. This is another quite dark, vampy red/burgundy color but it’s not as dark as Red Wedding. My husband called this one “a nice compromise” and I agree. It’s not as intense or opaque as RW. It smells like Christmas – it’s kinda cinnamon-spicey, the most appealing scent so far for me!

Nic Cage Doing the Charleston in a Bustling Speakeasy

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Another quite vampy lipstick (with a fabulous name) though this lends itself more to a berry-type shade base rather than a burgundy. Once again it’s quite opaque for a lip gloss, I like it. These last three-four shades will be fabulous in the winter, I feel! Particularly now that I live somewhere with actual seasons, and I’m sure my lips will be in absolutely terrible condition! I don’t know how to explain the scent of this one. The site says “bubbly champagne” but I disagree, it’s way too sweet for that. It’s probably my second-least-favorite of the scents so far, I don’t like it. But it’s also not very strong unlike the first scent which was horrid AND strong (in my opinion). The color is worth it though!

Afterthought on this one: it leaves a BEAUTIFUL stain on the lips when you wipe it off. Something to keep in mind, may be a plus or a minus for you, I like it though! See below:
IMG_7855All of these are $8 which is a bargain IMO, they also have a sample option for $2 which is great. I think I’ll actually buy a couple of these, now to decide which ones. I do love a proper applicator though I feel today that I got a good lesson in applying with a brush which I normally don’t do.

So that’s the Shiro products, there were two other products in the bag that I thought I’d review at the same time, however, after I posted this blog a friend informed me of a recent issue with one of the brands (Fierce Magenta) in which they ignored and dismissed a customer’s valid and serious issues with mold and other quality issues in their products. As such they will not be featured on this blog. You can read more about this issue here. Just like I’ll never review, buy or wear Gerard Cosmetics or Lime Crime due to past unpleasantnesses, I don’t want to feature this brand. [this section has been edited]

GlamourDollEyes HydraGlaze lip gloss in “Homicide”

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It’s kinda nice I guess, nothing special, it’s a nice classic-red lip gloss. The packaging description (of the actual product, I just have a sample) is confusing. It’s a “squeeze tube with doe foot applicator”? I don’t get it. The other thing that annoys me about the description is that it’s called a “matte, true red gloss” which is just garbage IMO you can’t be a matte gloss. And this is definitely not a matte anything! Anyway it’s fine, I wouldn’t buy it because it’s nothing amazing, the smell is sweet (apparently it’s buttercream) but nothing obtrusive. It’s $9.

A massive thanks to beautiful Jaime for sending me these products to try out! I had a really fun time, and I think I may be converted to lip gloss actually… these are great and really fun, and comfortable. I’m going to post this now and apply the “Justin Time” one to see what the lasting power is like. Oh and in case you’re interested in the aftermath of this little experiment… Later addition: I feel that it really lasted a goodly time! It didn’t get cakey or chunky and it only faded down to a less glossy, even stain. Will purchase! [section edited]

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Heh.

Thanks for reading!

Love+++
F&V

Review: Lipstick Queen Sheer Tint & “Colour Transforming” Lipsticks (+ Threading!)

In previous iterations of my blog I have raved about Lipstick Queen lipsticks so I hope you don’t mind that I do it again (mostly).

I recently obtained from Ulta these two lipsticks: Hello Sailor and Frog Prince.

FullSizeRenderThe weird thing about these lipsticks is that the bullet color does not match the color they turn on your lips. In a process that has something to do with pH balance, they change color on your lips. They’re also extremely nourishing, the base of the lipstick is Vitamin E which is really hydrating and comfortable on the lips.

So first of all I want to talk about Hello Sailor. And that’s because, well, I hate it. I mean, hate might be a strong word? I don’t know. But these aren’t exactly cheap and this particular product does nothing. The description says: “Turn the blackberry lip trend on its head with this ultra-modern, navy blue sheer lipstick. In a nod to the nautical, Hello Sailor tints lips in a cool, berry tone with a hint of deep sapphire.”

I just don’t agree. Let’s take a look. I tried to get the same/similar light but the weather is weird today and basically it’s different shades of overcast at all times. Sorry!

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Navy blue bullet?! So promising!

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Hello Sailor: Before & After

So okay maybe there’s the tiniest weeniest bit of different maybe. But these lip colors are $25 each, man. As the amazing KathleenLights would say, “thasespensive”. As hell. So yeah this $25 lip balm gets a big ol’ NOPE from me.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have very pigmented lips already and it’s totally possible that someone with less pigment on their lips may find that this shows up more for them.

Next I thought I’d mention trusty old Medieval. I’ve talked about this before. I love it. It does not only what it says on the tin (so to speak), but what it says on the bullet. It’s a lovely, natural red flush. Description from the site: “Medieval is the red that flatters all complexions. Impossible to detect as anything other than a sensual melancholic hue.” Yep! Accurate. Let’s take a look.

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Yep, I have worn this a lot D:

FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender_1A lovely natural red flush, as described. Hooray!

A winner for me and will definitely be repurchasing in the near future when this runs out. Must.. conserve.. product….

And now we come to, IMO, the star of the show. Let’s have a little talk about Frog Prince, shall we? For one thing, it’s green. I mean what the hell?! What is that about? Perhaps the site will provide some answers: “Get heads turning with Frog Prince, a remarkable emerald green lipstick that transforms into magical rosebud upon contact with the lips. Don’t be fooled by the deep green hue of this semi-sheer lipstick – the green reacts with the warmth of your lips turning them an intense, fairy tale rose. No two pairs of lips will look the same as it adapts according to your pH and natural coloring, appearing entirely different yet beautifully flattering on everyone.”

What!? But it’s bright green! I don’t believe you, Poppy King. I JUST DON’T. Let’s see, shall we?

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*narrows eyes suspiciously, looks for hidden cameras*

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Before and After. SO DELIGHTFUL OMG!

THIS IS SORCERY. I’m a witch now. Just so you know. Please don’t burn me. But yeah look at this?! I love it so much, I’m so impressed, this is a super cool product.

Just like Medieval it’s nourishing and moisturizing, and it’s the kind of lip color that’s great for those on the go, because you can smear it on without using a mirror. I mean, not too liberally but if you go a bit outside the lines it a) doesn’t matter really and b) is super easy to fix if you want to, the color won’t smudge around like a lipstick normally would.

These babies are US$25 each from Ulta and for someone who hates to have to always think about their lipstick, hoping it’s still sitting right and not bleeding or smearing or on their teeth, they are PERFECT. A great investment. I wear these a lot when I am giving my lips a break from more serious lipsticks, but still want to have some colour. In America you can grab them from Ulta, and in Australia from Kit Cosmetics stores or online from Mecca. Note: Aussies, sorry, only Medieval is available in Australia right now (for AU$27) so you might have to put in an order with me or wait patiently to see if Frog Prince comes out over there soon. I imagine it will. Poppy is an Aussie after all.

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Other things I played with today!

I also wanted to mention that I gave the Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW! foundation a go today, the nice Ulta lady gave me some samples when I was in Keene last. You can see from the photos, it’s a nice match (I mixed two together) and the coverage is medium. It’s a satin finish so not super matte but not dewy either. It’s quite nice. I probably won’t buy it, because I still think the Kat von D Tattoo Foundation is going to be my next purchase. I like to think that I want to wear more sheer bases but it might be lip service to what I think I “should” do, you know? Because as you can see I have some breakouts at the moment (related to taking a Biotin supplement to make my hair grow (it is working)) and it’s not doing a fantastic job of covering them up. I did use some concealer as well, but I didn’t want to cake too much product on and you know what? Some spots just won’t be covered. That’s life.

My hair looks like utter garbage but that’s kind of on purpose. I know I need to wash and blow dry my hair after being a the farm yesterday but it was too late when we got home and now it’s too cold and I never promised you guys I would look flawless erryday in errypost. In fact, I refuse to look flawless basically ever. It’s not realistic and it’s not why I’m here. Realtalk.

OH ALSO I got my eyebrows threaded! What do you guys think? I absolutely love it! They are a smidgy bit thin I think, not bushiness-wise but the actual distance between the top of the brow and the bottom if that makes sense. But it’s possible that I’m imagining it and even if I’m not, I still love how neat they look without being really sharp and severe. She also did my top lip which will save me using that smelly cream stuff ugh! ~ladymoustache problems~

Here’s another pic if you got this far. I let the Frog Prince sit a bit longer and it got even better I AM IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!okay I’ll stop

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I know today should be May Favorites but the end of the month just really snuck up on me! I will get it done as soon as possible. LOVE YOUSE! ❤

Thanks for reading!

Brand Review: Baroque Cosmetics (Vegan, Cruelty Free Indie Eyeshadows & Blush)

I know I’ve been talking about doing this review for ages but to be honest there’s been two things holding me back. One – I have so many of these eyeshadows that it felt overwhelming and two – it kinda felt like I always had a package on the way so I told myself I’d do it after that one arrived. And that happened forever. But I’ve decided to stop procrastinating! Let’s get on with it. NB: I’ll have some instagram pics of me wearing these at the bottom as well as swatches so keep on scrollin’.

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My collection! <3_<3

I first came across Baroque Cosmetics when the owner and creator, Andi, asked for some opinions on a huge forum I’m a part of, in the makeup thread. When she finally announced the first collection, I jumped at the chance to support a brand that I felt “connected to” already. Did I mention they’re all vegan and cruelty free?

The way BC works is that it is released in “collections”, which are often based on fandoms or movies/games of the fairly nerdy ilk plus some historical literature type situations. FULL DISCLOSURE! I actually am not into games and I haven’t seen any of these movies, they’re of the very artsy anime style (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away etc) and it’s just not something I’ve ever been into. But hey, I love Les Miserables right? So the first collection, French Revolution, was exciting to me!

Here’s the thing though. You do NOT have to be in any way nerdy or get ANY of the references to freakin’ LOVE these products and admire the care, craftsmanship and sheer originality and creativity of these beautiful products. My love of the brand in spite of a lack of knowledge of the background to the collections is a prime example of this!

BC eyeshadows cover the spectrum from bare, nude, gorgeous neutral shades to ELECTRIC, FULL ON, TAKE NO PRISONERS bold shades in greens, blues and even reds. There is absolutely something for everyone here.

One of the most exciting and awesome things about these eyeshadows is the price. They’re incredibly good value! You can buy these shadows in their original powder form ($6 for full size, $3.50 for dainty size or $1.50 for a sample which comes in a little baggie) or you can order them pressed and Andi hand-presses them for you. You can also order any of them (except National Razor) pressed into a palette of four ($30 for 4 hand-pressed shadows and a palette? Come ON! Bargain!) or order single pressed pans for $8 each. The pressing process is actually quite complex so the extra $2 is well deserved IMO!

Another cool thing Andi does is she has “House Baroque” which is a kind of “colour of the month” thing – it means you don’t have to wait for new collections to come out before slaking your new-shade thirst. Aw yeah!

Disclaimer: I haven’t got any of the blushes apart from one that was made just for me (more on that later) because I am scared of blush. I’m not good at it and it is terrifying okay. OKAY? Okay.

Let’s get on with what I know you guys really want to see – the swatches. I ummed and ahhed over how to present these, whether I’d do it by collection or whatever but I decided against that particular path because I haven’t bought them based on the collections, I’ve just bought what I like. I’ve divided them up roughly into shade groups and I’ll label the collections underneath. So let’s get started.

Golds / Coppers / Neutrals: The Light Ones

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Masquerade – House Baroque #5 ||| Dragon Bones – Sovngarde ||| Hikari – Friends in My Heart ||| Good Doggy – A Heart’s a Heavy Burden

Ok so, Andi is GREAT at describing her own colours. I kind of feel like me doing that is moot because her descriptions are amazing and mine are bad. But I’ll give it a go. All these colours are in the neutral range, the lighter end of the neutrals I would say. Good Doggy surprised me SO MUCH. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s this fabulous coppery shade that’s not too red, just a perfect coppery bronze I love it. Dragon Bones and Masquerade are perfect inner corner highlight shades or even browbone highlight shades. Hikari is an amazing neutral everyday shade that’s fantastic for just throwing on when you’re in a hurry. You can’t mess this one up and it suits everyone THE END.

Golds / Coppers / Neutrals: The Slightly Less Light Ones

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Versailles – French Revolution ||| Accolade – Cafe Baroque Exclusive* ||| Compass Rose – House Baroque #9 ||| Boiler Room – Always With Me ||| Walking On Air – A Heart’s a Heavy Burden ||| Pumpkin Queen – House Baroque #2

Versailles. Dupe Alert! Ok, have you guys ever seen the MAC Pigment in Old Gold and lusted after it? Well do yourself a favour and pick this one up instead. It’s like Old Gold but FINER. The colour is an exact match though pretty much. I did pick up Old Gold in the mini-pot recently which is how I know this. They’re both a gorgeous antiqued gold but the MAC one is obviously much more expensive. Accolade is a lovely light copper but was exclusive to the Cafe Baroque peeps (Andi’s FB group for CB fans! It’s great!) sorry! Compass Rose is one of my newest and most exciting purchases. LOOK AT IT. The perfect rose gold. Rose gold is hot right now and this little number is perfect. Boiler Room was kinda surprising to me. It’s a lot more brown than it looks. Andi described it as ‘blackened bronze’ which is accurate. Walking On Air is a true peachy coral, fantastic for a pop of colour! Pumpkin Queen is an orangey, bricky red.

Greys and Blues

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Ex-Adventurer – Sovngarde ||| National Razor – French Revolution ||| Sun King – French Revolution ||| Peeping Bug – A Heart’s a Heavy Burden ||| Swansea – Always Together*

Ex-Adventurer is a new one for me, and you know what, I love it. It totally reminds me of aluminium foil, in the coolest possible way. It’s a true steely grey. National Razor is a surprisingly neutral grey with flecks of red (a lot of these shades have glitter reflects! So cool). Sun King is a blue with flecks of gold, this one needs a bit of building, as does Peeping Bug which is a very interesting deep purple. Swansea… well… this is part 1 of the INCREDIBLE Christmas present my amazing husband got me last year. He emailed Andi to team up and make me some custom products based on our wedding colours – hence this one is a beautiful deep navy with a red reflect. The blush is coming!

Greens and Greeny-Blues

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Secret Garden – A Heart’s a Heavy Burden ||| Child Who Swallowed a Star – A Heart’s a Heavy Burden ||| Aurora – Sovngarde ||| Star Lake – A Heart’s a Heavy Burden ||| Wherever You Go – Always Together*

Umm so do I just have the whole AHaHB collection? Lol. Secret Garden is a leafy green (duh), Child Who Swallowed a Star is a deep blue/green, AURORA … oh man.. probably my #1 favourite shade of all (see later in post) is like.. I don’t know.. it’s the most beautiful teal colour, in fact Andi describes it as a “blackened teal”. I just love it. Star Lake is a PERFECT pop of colour for the inner corner with something darker on the rest of the lid and Wherever You Go is part 2 of the Always Together collection that Ray and Andi designed for me, it’s the blush shade.

And there you have it! That’s my collection.

A few more points about this brand…

Do yourself a favour – check out the website. Andi’s photography is amazing. As an example, look how appealing these pressed shadows are:

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Photo from Baroque Cosmetics – click to visit the site!

Don’t you just want to buy them all!? The website is clean, simple and easy to navigate. It’s set up by collection, you can buy the whole collection/s in sample or full sizes.

Postage to Australia is around USD6.50 (AUD8.30) and within the USA is about $2.50, how cheap is that! To Australia I remember it taking about 2-3 weeks, USA is your usual domestic ground shipping time of 5ish days.

The customer service is amazing. Example: when I moved, I packed all my eyeshadows in a box and when I got to New Hampshire, some of the BC eyeshadows had leaked and there was powder throughout the box. I had a long discussion with Andi and we troubleshooted some issues together. She apologised profusely which was 100% unnecessary – these things happen. Not a lot of product was lost (each full size jar contains 5g and the dainty jars include 3g, by the way) so it didn’t bother me. If you are the kind of person who does a lot of travelling (and as such has a lot of vibration in your eyeshadows’ lives) you might want to stick some washi tape or plain stickytape on the side of your shadow containers just to make sure.

The new containers with the matte black lids are much better than the previous ones. All of the loose shadows come in these little jars with a sifter which is a really handy way to not get too much shadow.

My top five shadows are Aurora (hands DOWN my favourite), Good Doggy (so wearable!), Swansea, Compass Rose and Versailles. This was hard! They’re all so good!

I thought I’d ask Andi if she would do a little mini interview for the blog and she agreed – what a superstar! Here it is:

Freedom & Vanity: First of all, how would you describe Baroque Cosmetics, briefly?

Andi: “Baroque is an indie and vegan/cruelty free makeup company that features chromatic themes applied to cosmetics.”

F&V: What made you want to start your own makeup line?

A: “I’ve always really loved makeup but I would become frustrated at how brands interpreted ideas or fandoms and translated that into colors. So once I was out of college I found myself with free time and started doing research and testing and in June of 2014 I opened Baroque!”

F&V: What is unique about your products? What separates you from other indie brands?

A: “My products are unique because when I start working on a collection I do my best to make each shade match its inspiration material while still retaining a cohesive feel when compared to the rest of that collection. I pride myself on my chromatic themeing, or how I can manage to make a set of colors embody the theme.”

F&V: What are your top three favourite shades?

A: “Hikari for its versatility. It’s a pale shimmery gold that pairs well with a huge variety of shades.

House Baroque #8 ‘Be Wherever You Are’ for the song it was named after. The song is about making sure you stop and just enjoy where you are in life. It’s something I try to do more since I have a tendency to try and plan for everything in the future.

Walking on Air for the color and for the song. It’s a warm shimmery coral that works really well on my skintone. The song was one I listened to a lot when I was younger and going through some hard times. So for me, its like a calming reminder that everything will be ok.”

F&V: Being an indie brand and as such without access to the perks of large distribution brands, what do you think is your greatest challenge?

A: “My greatest challenge right now is space. I’m at that sweet spot where I have a fair amount of orders to ship out but not quite enough to finance a larger office or warehouse. I currently work in the closed off basement of my home, and it’s fine for the moment but I can see it easily becoming an issue in half a year.”

F&V: If I were someone totally new to the brand, what would you suggest for me? Say I wanted to buy four eyeshadows and a blush. Should I get pressed or loose?

A: “If all you’ve ever used is pressed eyeshadows I suggest going for a pressed palette to sort of ease yourself into the world of indies. Shade wise I find that Death of Marat, Good Doggy, Dragon Bones and The Republic form a very flattering neutral look that works on a wide variety of skintones. For blushes it’s more dependent on your skintone but for warm/neutral leaning warm Mucha Ado About Nothing is a great match. If your skin is cool/neutral leaning cool, Such Galle or Sonrel Not Sonrel might be your best pick!”

Some fabulous advice here!

To end things, I thought I’d share some photos from my instagram where I’m wearing these products. Descriptions below photos.

FullSizeRenderLid colour – Swansea ||| inner corner – Star Lake ||| cheeks – Wherever You Go

FullSizeRender_1Superbowl Makeup! Inner corner – Child Who Swallowed A Star ||| lower lashline – Wherever You Go [on top of MAC – Cherry lipliner]  ||| lid – L’Oreal 24 Hour Infallible in All Night Blue]

FullSizeRender_2Lid – Boiler Room

FullSizeRender_3Soft & neutral – Good Doggy is TRUTH.

FullSizeRender_4Inner / centre of lid – Masquerade ||| outer corner – Aurora

FullSizeRenderLid colour – Aurora ||| inner corner – Star Lake

FullSizeRender_1Lid colour – Pumpkin Queen ||| inner corner – Good Doggy

I feel like this post could go on forever about how much I love this brand but it’s long enough already so I’m gonna end it here. If anyone has questions or would like to see other shades being worn please let me know, I’d be happy to help!

I’ll be doing another blog post on Sunday/Monday, it’s going to be a wrap-up of some new things I’ve been learning about (that everyone else has always known probably). Hooray!

Thanks for reading. Go forth and purchase!

Is it a dupe? MAC Fluidline vs. Maybelline Gel Liner

Phew, what an emotional rollercoaster this was!

First up, sorry for the terrible photo quality. I’m really trying to work out how to best use the cameras that I have access to, but it’s hard. The pictures I took with my Lumix point and shoot are garbage so I scrapped them. Sometimes I’m slack for setting up my dSLR but that might be something I look at doing for the moment. Anyway – onward!

I was watching a tutorial by Jaclyn Hill about gel liners and she mentioned that she thinks the Maybelline Gel Liner is blacker and better than MAC’s Fluidline in Blacktrack. I found this compelling because Jaclyn is a huge MAC fan and used to work for them for many years.

So off to Priceline I went and grabbed the Maybelline product in “Blackest Black”.

First up, I put a very basic face on. I just used these products plus a brow pencil, I didn’t bother spraying with setting spray or anything too dramatic because I was only going to have makeup on for a very short time.

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Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, Maybelline Fit Me concealer, Bourjois Healthy Balance powder, Wayne Goss Holiday Brush, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Now, onto the stars of the show.

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Real Techniques eyeliner brush, MAC Fluidline in “Blacktrack”, Maybelline Gel Liner in “Blackest Black” + matching brush

First, I tested the products on the back of my hand. Please note, for the sake of accuracy I used my Real Techniques angle liner brush for the MAC one and for the Maybelline product I used the brush that came in the package.

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Maybelline on bottom, MAC on top

Now, I did this at a super zoom because I wanted to make it very clear how on the back of my hand, the Maybelline appears to have it over the MAC one. Maybe it’s a brush issue (I don’t think so), but I found it hard to get good opacity with the MAC product. I had to brush over it a few times and brushing over it sometimes seemed to make it worse. Anyway, back of the hand isn’t really that important right? Onto the eyes.

I used the MAC liner on my left eye first. The application was okay. I felt like I needed to go over the black line quite a few times. It dried super fast which is a good thing and a bad thing. It meant that it was hard to work with and went a bit cakey fairly quickly. But it did not transfer AT ALL onto my upper lid.

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Yes, I was watching youtubes while I was doing this. What of it?

Looking pretty good, apart from the wonky bottom of the line, like a blown out tattoo. Regardless, it’s a thick straight dark black line so that’s what we want. NEXT

First impressions on the Maybelline gel liner were mostly to do with the brush. I thought it was a bit strange. It is small and fine, not like a traditional thin liner brush but more like a cross between one of those and an angle brush. It’s almost wedge-shaped. Perplexing. However! I loved it. I thought it was great! It was tiny and fine, it didn’t have the big drag that some of the angle brushes have, it was super easy to work with! A happy surprise.

The gel liner itself went on like a dream. Thick, black, fantastic opacity, I didn’t have to go over any lines (apart from neatening up the bottom line of the flick itself). I was squeeing on the inside about how much I loved this liner!

It wasn’t until I looked at the pictures I had taken that I saw that it had transferred to my upper lid.

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

In saying that, I didn’t put any eye primer on at all and my eyelids were slightly oily, it’s near the end of the day after all. I’m definitely going to give this one another go, because I loved the application and the brush and how gosh-darn BLACK it is! It’s a really great product, I feel the transfer is user error.

MAC’s Fluidline will set you back AU$32, the Maybelline liner almost exactly half the price at $16.95. Even with the transfer, the Maybelline product is the clear winner here ladies and gentlemen. Please stand by for how it goes through an entire day of wear at work tomorrow.

Edit: unfortunately it transferred a lot. Even with primer. Sigh. You win this round, MAC.

Peace!