September Favorites

Ok so I know that I didn’t do an August favorites post and this one is a bit late so please accept my apologies! Just a few things for this month, I’ve been trying a few different things so some things aren’t like legit favorites yet, but I feel they’ll be there in the future. Let’s crack on.

Kat von D’s Tattoo Lock-It Foundation, Concealer & Powder has been getting a lot of wear from me this month.

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The foundation is full coverage and it’s matte but not overly cakey or chalky. I think it’s a great one for most skin types apart from those who are very dry. One thing I’ll say about it is that it needs a good moisturizer AND primer layer as it is prone to oxidizing. So if that is something that you really avoid in foundations, skip this one for sure. I also love the concealer, this is funny because it’s one I actually gave away in the past because I didn’t like it but it’s back in the good books now, the formulation has changed and one thing I didn’t like in the past was how a little bit of oil was always there when you squidged some out of the tube but I figured out that just smooshing the tube around fixes that up a treat. It’s a very full coverage concealer and I like it a lot. It’s not brightening at all, it’s totally matte. The powder is great as well, it’s technically a powder foundation not a setting powder and you could wear it alone but I think it has a similar issue to the liquid foundation and that is that it does oxidize a tad so I use it as setting powder to give a little extra coverage. It’s great stuff and, like all KvD products, the packaging is gorgeous. You can get these from Sephora exclusively.

This month I decided to give the new Ole Henriksen “Empower” Foaming Milk Cleanser a try.

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It was getting good press for people in their mid-twenties / early thirties who just wanted a nice simple cleanser (plus the matching moisturizer – I only have a sample, jury is still out, stay tuned). I’m always attracted to “milk” type cleansers because I HATE overly-foamy, gel-like, drying UGH AWFUL UGH ok anyway, I like these kinds and this one did NOT let me down. It’s lovely. I use it as my second step after using an oil cleanser to remove my makeup (I’m currently trialing Clinique’s “Take the Day Off” cleansing oil – stay tuned). It’s nothing incredible but to be honest, cleansers often aren’t. They don’t stay on your skin long enough to be hugely amazing IMO and at $26, this one is reasonably priced for an enormous amount of product. You can get it from Sephora in the USA and in Australia from Sephora too probably but WHO WOULD KNOW because no online shopping yet. Get on it guys, seriously.

The First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream has been my go-to morning moisturizer for this majority of this month and it’s a good one, I’m a fan.

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I’ve recently read that their mattifying gel moisturizer is incredible so I might try that one next but this one has been great. It’s lightweight, it sinks in fast and it works. There’s not much else to say about it really! Oh yeah wait – it comes in a pump bottle which I love, if there’s anything I find super wasteful and annoying (and unhygienic) it’s moisturizer in a frickin’ jar. This brand is great for people with sensitive skin (for the most part – always check ingredients and get familiar with what irritates your skin). You can get it for $20 from Sephora in the USA and oh look it’s not available at AdoreBeauty although other products from the brand are, but you can get it it from BeautyBay if you’re willing to wait for $25.80.

My go-to fall nail polish color so far has been plucked straight from the “new in” section of CVS – it’s the Essie Fall Collection – Leggy Legend.

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It’s just a gorgeous, bronzey, slightly iridescent coppery color and I love it. Essie is great. I have no idea if this is available in Australia – I guess because it’s seasonal maybe not? But you can grab it from any drugstore or Target or anywhere that sells Essie for like $8-9. Woo!

My skin immediately started getting very lizardlike as soon as the weather cooled down so it was body lotion trying time. I heard a lot of people saying very good things about the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter.

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So I picked some up in the scent “lavender” because I often put on body butter before going to sleep and it’s a sleepy scent. I love this stuff! It works great, it’s easy to spread, it sinks in fast so you don’t feel greasy and it smells AMAZING. I also bought some in the Ginger fragrance for someone and it smells phenomenal as well. I’m not sure about the “whipped” thing. It feels the same as normal body butter to me? Anyway, it comes in tonnes of different fragrances and is available from Sephora in the travel size (which I got) for $12 (!!! pretty good really!) and $35 for the larger sizes, and in Australia from Mecca (though only in 2 scents) for $17 and $48.

I love drugstore mascara and my latest love is no exception. It’s the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara.

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It works great. It’s not clumpy. It both lengthens and adds volume. It’s just a really great mascara and it’s super cheap – about $9 at the drugstore and I know it’s also available from anywhere in Australia that sells Maybelline too. A+ mascara, will definitely buy again!

Special mention this month goes to a super cool gift that my lovely friend Megan sent me. It’s a Marimo terrarium!

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It’s a gorgeous mason jar with a little seascape in it made of lego sharks (the maker went out and bought them especially for me – I love sharks!) and the prize addition of some adorable little Marimo moss balls. You can read more about them on the Etsy store page but if you’re stuck for a gift for someone special and you think they’d get a kick out of this (the maker sends you everything you need, carefully packaged!), then I urge you to contact MomoBarks to set something up. She rules.

That’s all from me this month – next month expect more fall-related items, it’s really starting to cool down very fast which is exciting and terrifying. I have a real winter coat now! Look at me go!

Ok bye lovers!

Love+++
F&V

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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

Beauty: May Favorites

May was a pretty good month for makeup really, I started my new job and started working on neutral, natural looks for every day wear. I thought I’d get sick of wearing makeup to work every day in about 3 days but I’m still loving it. I think for me just as I’m learning a new role it adds a little bit to my confidence and gives me an opportunity to try new stuff as well. Win win! Will I continue to wear makeup every day forever? Probably definitely not. I’ve also bought a few things that have really impressed me so let’s just crack on with it shall we?

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

I heard good things about this makeup from a few different bloggers, and god knows and you ALL know that I love a good matte finish because I’m oily AF. And it has NOT disappointed me. I really, really love it. It’s a definite matte finish and it’s a medium to high coverage, I’d say high coverage. I don’t feel like it is too cakey on my skin but to be really honest with you I find that hard to avoid so others might feel that it’s a little cakey. If you are the kind of person who likes a very light to medium coverage foundation then take my opinions with a grain of salt on foundation, ok? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I have very uneven skintone, huge pores and scars and blemishes so coverage is my main goal. Fair warning!

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Anyway I apply this (my shade is 101 shell beige) with either the Real Techniques buffing brush or Expert Face Brush. One thing I’ll say about this is that for better or worse it dries pretty fast so I have been doing my face in sections. The shade range is a little strange, admittedly. The shades tend towards yellow, it’s really only the two lighter shades (101 shell beige and 102 classic ivory) that have any pink tone to them at all. I picked up totally the wrong shade the first time because the yellow undertone was quite strong so I took it back to CVS and changed it over for this one. Much better. I’ve also been mixing this with my NARS Luminous Weightless Full Coverage foundation which gives a great effect, it just takes the edge off the matte-ness. That’s a trick I learned from YouTube beauty personality MannyMUA (marred by controversy as he currently is, I still like some of the things he does in his tutorials).

Unfortunately this one isn’t available in Australia yet. I hope they pick up their game because it’s really very good! I got it at CVS and it was around $15. If you’ve seen any of my instagram pictures in the last few weeks I can basically guarantee I’ve been wearing this foundation unless otherwise indicated.

MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural

So the people who let me talk their ears off about makeup will know that I’ve been trying to work out how to use bronzer for about a year now. I don’t get it. I bought the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer because I thought well, I’m pale and it’s for pale people so hooray! But I think it’s actually a smidge pale for me so I still didn’t get it. But THIS!.. this….

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Last month I went to Burlington (the largest city in Vermont) to do some training with my work. I went to MAC and asked them to please for the love of god teach me how to use it. I explained what I’d tried already and what my problems were and the amazing girl at MAC was SO HELPFUL! She told me that what I should try was something like the Mineralize SkinFinish Natural in a deeper skin tone than my own, because it’s mostly matte but has a tiiiiiny sheen to it so it won’t make me look muddy or like I’ve rolled around in a pan of brownies. She put it on in a C-shape from above my temples to along my cheekbones and I absolutely loved the effect. I went back and bought it the next day. She also used a brush I wouldn’t have expected, kind of a flat paddle brush and she used the flat side of it so that was interesting. I didn’t buy the brush but I took note of what it looked like and bought an ELF equivalent which is fine (the Complexion Brush for those who are interested).

I took the bronzer home (the next day, actually) and have been playing with it and wearing it every so often and even though it’s still a learning curve I’m loving it!

You can get this from MAC in Australia and in the USA (shop online at the official site or in store only, accept no shoddy substitutes guys, don’t take the risk some of those fakes are very well done). It’s $32 here and $49 in Australia (!).

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Dat glow~

Stila Eyes are the Window – Soul palette

I bought this from Mecca online in Australia the day I put Luuka on the plane to go to America. It was a bad day. Mama needed something shiny. And boy, did this ever not disappoint. Look at it! It’s so beautiful! Ugh I love it.

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I loved that this had a good range of neutral, natural shades in both warm and cool tones. I have been trying to learn more natural looks because in the past with eyeshadows I’ve always been like “OOOH A BRIGHT BLUE YES I WILL DEFINITELY USE THAT EVERY SINGLE DAY” which is so stupid. So I loved the look of this! And I wasn’t disappointed (mostly). Here’s the inside of the palette:

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There’s 5 matte shadows and the rest are shimmery with one that I’d call a “glitter”. More on that later. To be honest, the mattes were a tiny bit disappointing. Not that they’re BAD per se, they just don’t go on as smoothly as some other matte shadows that I own. Here’s some swatches. Please keep in mind that I swatched these on my arm so yeah there are some teeny hairs there that you prob won’t have on your lids 🙂

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Top to bottom: light (hard to see), individual, being, heart, essence

So you can see what I mean, they’re a little chunky but I was strict with my swatching here, I just did two repeats of putting color on my fingertip and wiping it once on my arm. So I could have blended them a bit better but I wanted to be realistic. I still use them though, just not as often as the shimmery shades because CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THEM FOR A MINUTE. PLEASE. LOOK AT THEM.

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Top to bottom: kitten, affection, character, thought, peace, vitality, substance

Come ON! They’re so nice. I even feel like the swatches don’t do them justice. I love these eyeshadows. A few of my online friends had been going on about kitten for ages but I was like ‘who cares it’s a pale pearly shimmer meh’ until I got it and hooooly jeebus it’s really amazing, especially as an inner-corner highlight, it just wakes the eye up so much. It’s glorious. You may be able to tell that there’s one notably disappointing shade here, it’s called “character”. This shade if I’m honest is total garbage. That is actually three swipes of colour, the one exception, because it’s soooo pale and not pigmented at all. I don’t know why it’s even there. In the palette, it’s the right side on the second line so you would think it’d be really dark like it looks in the pan. The glitter in it (the one “glitter” shade) is also really chunky so yeah I just don’t like it but the rest are gorgeous and I use them all the time! “Thought” is also absolutely beautiful.

This is a great palette. In the USA it retails for about $49 (Sephora) and in Australia from Mecca it’s $72. A big investment but it’s wonderful and if you are in the market for a neutrals palette but don’t want totally matte shades I’d give it a look.

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1

Not really interested in paying that much? Well if you’re in the USA this is a pretty good alternative (not yet avail in Australia, sorry, though as always I’m happy to post). This is a new product from L’Oreal and I think it’s great, it’s what I use most days for work.

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There are only three matte shades in this palette but they are great:

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Much easier to blend than the Stila mattes actually, but not quite as pigmented. They’re nice. They’re not named, but on the back they are numbered and the back of the palette also has a diagram of four different looks and how to create them with the palette which is cool and handy!

The shimmers, again, are even better. There’s 7 shimmer shades and they’re all gorgeous.

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The top two shades are kinda hard to see, sorry!

They’re sheeny without being glittery and they’re well pigmented so you don’t have to dig your brush in too much to get enough color to work with. They blend easily and there’s a mix of cool and warm colors, though I do think that this palette leans more warm.

I think that if you have been umming and ahhing over any of the Naked palettes by Urban Decay (as I did) but were baulking at the price, this is a good alternative though of course not a perfect dupe as the colors are different from all of the Naked palettes. This is a great all rounder palette. It set me back about $19 from CVS.

Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in East End Snob

I wont’ go on too much about this one it’s pretty basic, it’s just a great nude-pink lipliner which was missing from my collection. I had bright pinks and red pinks and nudes but no nude pinks. A YouTuber said it’s a great dupe for the much coveted Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and though I don’t own that particular product (I wish), I can see where they’re coming from.

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If you are like me and you have pigmented lips, then this is a great nude for you to line your lips or even overdraw them a little bit if that’s what you’re into. In the picture above I’m wearing it under a really similar shade – NARS Audacious lipstick in “Anita”.

In Australia you can get this for about $12 from Priceline and I got this one here in the USA from Walgreens for $6. Bargain mate.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless primer

So my favorite beauty YouTuber, vintageortacky, has been raving about this for ages now. I had a few primers to get through but I finally ran out of them so I invested whilst I was in Burlington. Holy god have mercy it is FANTASTIC.

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The first time I used it I thought it was a tiny bit .. sticky? Oily? I don’t know, but I was scared. It reminds me of a stickier Benefit POREfessional. But it went on nicely and made my foundation go on nicely as well. It wasn’t until I took a selfie after my makeup was done that I basically lost my mind. MY FACE WAS SO SMOOTH. I couldn’t see any of my scars or any big pores or .. anything. It’s seriously amazing. Check it!

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It’s not JUST the light, it’s because of the primer.

This. Primer. Is. Life. It has a slight tint and it says it can be used alone but I call bullshit, I don’t think that’s a thing and the product is a little sticky so I think that’d be weird. Probably don’t do that. It’s so good though! It’s like spakfilla (is this an Australian product?) – you put it on the wall to fill in any of the holes and dents and blemishes then you paint over the top and it’s all flawless and amazing ughhhhhhhhhh I lov it

It’s $39 from Mecca in Australia and $30 from Sephora here in the USA.

That’s it for May. I have a few plans for blog posts and I’m trying to do at least two a week while things are quiet and I’m on BudgetWatch. Let me know if there’s something you’d like to see on the blog or if you have questions/concerns etc.

Thanks for reading!

Love+++
F&V

Beauty: April Favorites

Well as you all know by now, I moved to the USA in April so I have a LOT to get through this week. I mean, check this out:

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Just a small selection!

I’m going to transfer over, slowly, from linking both USA and Australian links to just the US links, but I’ll try to at least figure out whether things are available in Australia for you lovely people. I’m also trying very hard to switch over to American spelling though I assume that will take some time to happen automatically, forgive me if this is a mixture of both!

Let’s get on with it.

Sigma F88 Flat Angled Kabuki Brush

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I got this in my Sigma brush order and honestly it’s the only one I’ve given a red hot go for right now, I’ve been living out of a small amount of makeup brushes so as not to have to clean a lot of brushes all the time. And can I tell you, it is frickin amazing. It feels like a kitten’s paw. It’s so soft but very, very dense. It just seems to smooth on and blend out foundations and BB creams so fast and efficiently. I love it. I probably would not use this for sheer applications of a base – it’s better for medium to full coverage. You can get Sigma brushes from a bunch of different places (including online in Australia), I shopped straight from sigmabeauty.com and this was $28. Well worth it, IMO!

IT Cosmetics Tightline Mascara

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When I was at Ulta Beauty in Keene, NH this month I overheard one of the makeup salespeople gushing about this mascara to another customer. I thought it sounded really interesting so when I saw a sample size at the counter I had to grab it and try it out (you know how I feel about full size/price high end mascaras). I was not disappointed, this is actually REALLY cool. The brush is teeny tiny, the bristles are barely there. But this enables you to get right up to the root of the lashes and it does indeed create a “tightline” effect (ie, it makes you look like you have lined your inner, upper lashline which is a thing that really sucks to do if you’re not well practiced!). I sometimes go over the top of this with another coat of something a little more volumizing but as a basic, everyday mascara I think this is absolutely great and will probably buy the full size.  I can’t see that it’s available in Australia but if you’re in the USA you can grab it at Ulta Beauty for $24.

Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks

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As you can see, I like these a lot. I want all of them, they are great. They last forever and don’t go chunky on the lips. I think they are wonderful! I got Berlin, Outlaw and Bachelorette, in that order from left:

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Not the best picture ever, sigh. Berlin is a kind of watermelon pinky-red, Outlaw is a scarlet, bright red and Bachelorette is a bright, deep pink-red. I find them incredibly easy to apply, they dry really fast to a very matte finish and they stay put. They just do. I ate a burger wearing Outlaw. I ate wings wearing Bachelorette. I’m not joking. Here’s a couple of pictures of it on (left is Berlin, right is Outlaw – sorry I don’t have one of Bachelorette on!):

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I don’t know what else to say. I love these. I think I’ll buy the very orange-red one next time, but it’s SUPER orange so I haven’t yet got the balls. SOON. Sidenote: I also tried a sample of the KvD Lock-It Tattoo Foundation and it owns, coverage is fantastic but not cakey, it will be my next foundation purchase. You can get these lipsticks from Sephora in Australia if you have a mate in Sydney, otherwise you’re SOL. But in the USA they’re obviously available from Sephora in-store and online, and are $20.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

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This is like lip balm on steroids. It was an absolute lifesaver for me when I got to the USA. The sudden change from hot humidity to cold dry weather was hell on my skin and this stuff really saved my lips from cracking. I smeared it on obsessively. I think it’s meant to be an overnight thing but I just treated it like lip balm.

One thing that annoys me about this product is that it’s kinda hard to squeeze out of the tube, and doesn’t come with an applicator tip it’s just a plain tube opening. No biggie it’s still worth it. It smells and tastes delicious and is an all-round all-star product that I think will be joining my holy grail collection. It’s another Sephora Australia product or you can get it for nearly $32 at ry.com.au but in the USA it’s $26 from Sephora.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

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This. Stuff. ROCKS. It’s super creamy, super blendable and comes in a decent, though not extensive, range of shades. It has great coverage (I’d call it on the high side of medium to full) and has a handy doe-foot applicator. It is totally matte so doesn’t have a brightening effect like the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but otherwise I would call them quite comparable. I love Urban Decay so I was excited to try this product and it really did not disappoint. Even without the brightening effect I still wear this under my eyes and I think it does a great job of evening out the tone in that area. I find that highlighting concealers can draw attention to blemishes so it doesn’t bother me so much that this one doesn’t have that, since blemishes are more of a concern to me than dark under-eye circles. Errybody got those u know?! Anyway you can get it at Mecca (Maxima) now in Australia or from Sephora or Ulta in the USA for $28.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

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Guys, it does what it says on the box. It dries SO FAST, to such a hard, glossy finish. I will probably never use another top coat ever again. I am constantly surprised, every time I use this (and I’ve done my nails A LOT this month) at how fast it dries and how unbreakable the finish is, for quite a few days. It’s like having hard glass on top of your nails, it’s bloody fabulous I don’t know what else to tell you. You can get it at Crush Cosmetics in Australia for about $15 or in the USA you can get it at CVS and probably other drugstores, or even on Amazon for like $8 it’s great. You won’t be disappointed with this product, I promise!

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

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I had heard good things about the masks from PTR so I grabbed the little three-pack from the beauty to go section of Sephora. It’s kind of a rip because the box looks like the products will be bigger than they are – they have a corner section of the box, so the products themselves are pretty tiny (see above). The Rose Stem Cell and Cucumber of these, I could take or leave. Maybe it’s just my skin type but I didn’t think they did much for me really. The Pumpkin one though, holy CRAP you guys it’s PHENOMENAL. Honestly, after I took it off (you only need 3-7 minutes for this baby, depending on your sensitivity) I exclaimed out loud and made Ray look at and touch my newly glowing, soft, smooth, bright skin. I can’t even tell you guys how impressed I am with this product.

A small flaw: I did find that it stung a little bit for the first say 30-45 seconds of wear then it went away. It has some pretty potent stuff in it so I was prepared but if you do try it, don’t be alarmed. It stops, and as said above you don’t have to have it on for very long anyway. As with all the things I recommend though, be sure to make decisions based on your own skin type and patch test if you are worried. Sephora will give you a sample for no cost so you could try that first if you wanted.

Unfortunately this one is not available in Australia. Booo! Any Aussies want to try it, you can PayPal me and I’ll send it over to you (in fact this goes for any of these things, anything that helps me add to my VIB points or Ulta rewards is ok with me!). In the USA you can get the full size from Sephora for $58 or the Mini Mask Set for $20.

Matrix Biolage ExquisiteOil Range

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I got this on recommendation from the ladies at the JCPenney salon when I described the damaged, dry condition of my hair. It was 3 for the price of 2 so I thought why not? I’ve had good luck with Matrix Biolage products before. And let me tell you, this range has been a revelation. Even Ray has commented on how much healthier, shinier and “less crunchy” my hair has been since I started using it. I do love a hair oil and the Moringa oil in this range really does the job. I’m super impressed and recommend it to anyone who’s looking to give their damaged, treated, dry hair some love for awhile. I got the shampoo, conditioner and the leave-in oil. They said I could use the oil either before or after drying my hair. I often put it in before, and then use a little bit of my beloved Kevin.Murphy Immortelle Oil just before straightening. Americans can get this fantastic range at a bunch of places and salons including Ulta for $17 per bottle and Aussies can get it from their Matrix Biolage carrying salon or from myhaircare.com.au for pretty dece prices actually! Hairhouse Warehouse also has the 1L bottles for 50% off right now, if you’re already a fan.

Phew! That was a huge amount of stuff to get through. I even cut some things out! There are some things I’ve purchased that I want to give a bit more of a go before I call them favorites, or don’t.

As I mentioned, I’m happy to be a re-shipper for my Aussie friends if needs be. I’m going to be starting work next week but only part time and any perks I can get like points / rewards are well worth it to me. Hook me up with some PayPal dough and I’ll help you out as speedily as possible.

Let me know what you guys think if you’ve tried these products, or what your April Favourites are – I’d love to hear! Also I would love to know if you guys think there’s a way I can improve these posts and make them more helpful/useful to you.

Next month might have quite a lot of non-makeup in it as I am moving this weekend, Ray and I are finally moving into our very own apartment and we’re going to IKEA tomorrow to do some furniture shopping!

Love+++

Beauty: February Favourites – Better Late than Never?!

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

Beauty: January Favourites!

Quick one from me today because as much as I did buy things in January, a lot of it was things I haven’t had enough time to really try to see if they’re actual favourites. As for these, well they were instant wins, in my book.

KEVIN.MURPHY Young.Again Immortelle Infused Treatment Oil

GOOD GOD. Okay so, for my wedding, I went blonde. Super white, icy platinum blonde. I went blonde from bright red. No matter how slowly we did it, my hair suffered. Badly. It was fried by the end. I’m still rehabbing it, even though I went dark for awhile (have gone back to red now, see later in post). It’ll take some time, but it’s getting there.

I bought this on the recommendation of a few people in a makeup thread I frequent, and I have not looked back.

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Shiny purple bottle of goodness!

Like all KM products, you don’t get much for your buck. That is my only complaint about this brand. However, I will say with this one that you only need a little tiny bit. Half a pump is plenty for my hair, PLENTY.

After I wash and towel dry my hair, I squeeze some of this into my palm then rub my palms together and run it through my hair, concentrating on the last third. It smells lovely and feels really nice. I then comb my hair and either let it air dry or dry it with the hair dryer. The oil just really softens everything so much, and eliminates that crunchy feeling that dry, damaged hair can have.

I also use a smidge of this through my dry hair before I straighten it, just to give it a bit of a coating before I apply heat. It’s great stuff, I’d highly recommend it.

Pros: Smells amazing, makes my hair feel great. A little goes a long way. Can be used dry or wet.

Cons: Expensive. Smallish bottle for the price.

You can get it from Adore Beauty for $49.95.

Malin + Goetz Acne Treatment

I have talked about this before but oh my god, my skin. It’s a jerk. It hates me. I spend so much money on it and do all kinds of nice things to it but it continues to rebel against me at every turn. It is a horrible naughty teenager and I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I really don’t. But it has gotten better lately, I guess every jerk teenager has to grow up sometime huh?

Regardless, I still get the odd pimple. More than the odd pimple. Hormonally I get them pretty regularly, otherwise I can get them for the most random reasons. Who knows. Anyway, I find this stuff to be rather fabulous.

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MAGICAL POTION ??????

It is a spot treatment that you leave on overnight. It is an overnight treatment because it looks like you have little spots of plaster on your face. Nobody wants to walk around like that. And you can’t wear it under makeup. So, the product description on the Mecca page is thus:

“This treatment for problem skin synthesizes salicylic acid with active sulfur to effectively target breakouts.”

The sulfur sediment sits at the bottom of the jar, you are instructed never to shake the bottle. The first ingredient is isopropyl alcohol which is usually a red flag for me, it indicates that something will be very drying, but since what you’re trying to do with products like these is dry out your spots then it’s not so bad. Also, the alcohol is just the solution that the sediment sits in if that makes sense – if you look closely at the above picture you can see that there’s a layer of clear liquid above the white stuff. It keeps the sediment solution nice and hygienic which, as we know, is very important for skin like ours.

So you just do your night routine, then dip your cotton bud / q-tip into the sediment and dot it on, right onto your pimple, let it dry and go to bed. If you don’t let it dry first, it will smear on your pillow so you do want to give it a few mins.

The first time I used this stuff I was so happy! The next day my red, angry pimple had largely gone away. That trend continues. Some are more stubborn than others and I SERIOUSLY need to stop squeezing them, ugh, but I think this is a wonderful product and I really recommend it for those of us who get the odd spot. Would I recommend it to someone who has a full face of acne? No. It’s not cost effective and it’s not really the kind of thing you want all over your face.

Pros: Works like a dream. You only need a tiny bit. I can’t imagine ever running out of this though I am sure it will happen at some point. Reasonably priced.

Cons: Smells very strong, it’s not bad as such, but it is a strong medicinal / sulfury type smell. Makes you look weird. Your husband will make jokes. Because he is mean.

Grab it at Mecca Cosmetica for $29.

REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid

Oh my god. I just realised this isn’t available on the Mecca website. So I won’t talk too long about it!

I am CONSTANTLY on the hunt for a daily moisturiser that won’t make me an oil slick by 11am. And this is a total winner. My skin feels soft and moisturised, not that horrible tight-dry feeling that some of the more gel moisturisers can leave one with. My lovely mum sent me a HUGE PACKAGE of skincare, some requested and some she and her partner Dann (Mumma 2) chose themselves. One of those was a cute little travel / sample set of a mask, moisturiser and cleanser. I’ve started using the cleanser and it seems really nice, needs more time to make a full decision. The mask I haven’t given a go yet because I’m still polishing off a sample of the Chantecaille clay mask.

But THIS. Oh my word, this:

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Hello, beautiful.

It’s just lovely! A light texture, you only need a little bit and it spreads over the face so nicely. It sinks in super fast and doesn’t leave the face feeling greasy at all.

I really like REN and am looking forward to using more of their products as that made up the bulk of what mum sent me. You can get this one online at a few places, though nowhere in Australia. However, she also sent me the REN Clarimatte T-Zone Balancing gel-cream and that one is certainly available at Mecca. I won’t bother with pros and cons because you can’t get it here anyway. Sorry team!

Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder

I have been using a translucent powder for a few years now. Specifically the Make Up For Ever Translucent HD powder. It’s really nice. But sometimes you just want a bit of colour and extra coverage in your setting powder, right? Right.

This little baby is just perfect for the job. It’s still super light, it’s very finely milled and pressed.

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Bonus roof reflection. You’re welcome!

It’s super slim, in sturdy packaging and just gets the job done. It’s soft enough that your brush picks up enough powder but not too soft so it cakes on the brush. Not much more to say about it really. I use it to set my makeup when I want just a bit more coverage and colour. For a drugstore type product, I find it pretty damn impressive!

Pros: Very finely milled powder, a little goes a long way. Not too soft. Brush picks up just the right amount. Comes in 4 shades (I have the lightest). Packaging is sturdy, price is right.

Cons: I honestly can’t think of any. It’s just a basic powder, it’s hard to think of what could go wrong?

You can grab this nifty little number for $20 from Priceline.

That’s it from me for today, tomorrow is my birthday and I’m taking the day off work for the first time ever! I am going to the pub at 9am to watch the Super Bowl – my team is playing (the New England Patriots obviously). I hope you all have a magical week!

Love+++