Review: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you might remember this post in which I compared MAC’s Fluidline gel liner in Blacktrack with a drugstore gel liner from Maybelline. It didn’t really work out so well. I haven’t bothered with drugstore liners since then. But to be honest, I don’t really think Blacktrack is that great either, even though people seem to swear by it.

Recently I started looking into what gel liners my favorite bloggers were loving, and the main one that kept popping up again and again was the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black. I decided to pick it up from Sephora, just in case I hated it so I could return it.

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I took it for a trial run on Tuesday just passed. Tuesdays are pretty long days for me in terms of makeup-wear. I get ready for work around 9am, work 11am – 7pm then I have trivia which usually ends around 10-1030pm. So that is more than 12 hours of makeup wear.

But first – application. I’m not gonna lie; I was impressed with this product from first swipe. I picked up a tiny amount on my Real Techniques Bold Metals 202 Angled Liner Brush and carefully made my first line, following the lower outer lashline in an angled flick. I gasped. It was black, it was dark, it was sharp, it was opaque… ok ok let’s not get too excited. I did the other side, same thing. I made a line nice and close to my lashes along my upper lashline.. still dark black. Not too messy.

Here’s a two-swipe swatch:

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The edges look messy, but I wasn’t as careful as I would be if I was doing it on my eyelid.

This is a comparison of MAC’s Blacktrack (top) and the BB liner:

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The BB is blacker and more opaque. I also noticed while doing these swatches that it was more liquidy, and therefore harder to keep neat and clean.

Ok so, I know what you want to know. How did it look, and how long did it last?

Here’s a pic of my wingy liner look from that day, about 1 hour post application (I was about to leave for work, hence the scrubs):

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When I got home from trivia, I looked at my liner in the mirror. My eyelids were very oily which usually means that my liner is a mess. They were so oily that I could see a dome shaped hole in my lid makeup (which was just some concealer), literally eyelid shaped. But what happened to my liner? Absolutely nothing. Even Ray noticed. Even my friend who was, self-admittedly, 2 wines-on-an-empty-stomach down noticed.

Bottom line, I’m SO impressed with this eyeliner. The MAC liner is getting backburnered, or binned (KonMari style, thanks for your service, Blacktrack). I get the hype. 5 out of 5 stars. You can pick it up for $26 from Sephora, and I recommend you do. You won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading!

F&V

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Rant: Pushing ~Natural~ Skincare – Can You Please Just Not.

It’s time we had a talk, guys. It’s about “natural skincare”. Wayne Goss, whom I usually LOVE SO MUCH, recently posted this on his blog and I was devastated. He also recommended putting Milk of Magnesia, straight, on your face on the reg (it is ok in very small doses, very irregularly – thanks Chanelle). Sure, it makes your skin look a little better (debatable) in the short term, but with long term, frequent use it can cause major bacterial proliferation. Jaclyn Hill recommends using sugar to scrub your face. Come ON guys! I don’t want to go on and on about this, so I’ll try to keep this short (spoiler alert: I failed). I also don’t want to tell people to stop doing what works for them. But this is a dangerous trend that I want to put in my US$0.02 about.

Look, everyone wants to be closer to nature, right? Everyone wants to save some money, everyone wants to seek out multi-use items. I get it. I really do. But some things can be as natural as hell, but still not great for your skin. In fact, some people can react really badly to natural ingredients. Sure, they can also react badly to synthetic ingredients, but those are often formulated to be less likely to make people’s skin fall off.

The bottom line is, not everything that is natural is good for your skin. Take oft-touted lemon juice for example. Your skin’s natural pH is somewhere between 4 and 5. It already HAS a natural acid mantle and this acid mantle is INCREDIBLY important. Lemon juice is extremely acidic – it has a pH of 2 (approx. 6% citric acid) – and can burn your skin. Some people manage to use it JUST fine. But I would suggest that those people are in the minority, and most people’s delicate facial skin will be irritated by this. Irritation can show up in a myriad of ways – it can be redness, small whitehead bumps, cystic pimples, dryness and even sores/blisters or burns. Same goes for baking soda. Baking soda + vinegar (also acidic, pH 2.4ish) is the kind of thing you clean stubborn stains from pans, sinks, drains and cooktops with. Do you really think you should put that on your face!? No. Stop it.

Sugar is jagged crystals. Same goes for anything like those awful apricot scrubs that are literally crushed apricot seeds.What! They’re sharp as hell. Sure, they’ll exfoliate the SHIT out of your face, but they’ll also create microtears around your pores and aggravate any problem areas you already have. Don’t do it. I’m a huge proponent for NEVER scrubbing your face with anything more abrasive than a muslin cloth. If you want to exfoliate, use something gentle that won’t mess around with your skin’s pH level. I personally use the Paula’s Choice AHA gel, because I find it works well for me, but if you are oily you might prefer the BHA. Dr Dennis Gross also does a wonderful exfoliant line. Don’t scrub your face! Microbeads, though smooth, are still not great for your skin, or necessary, and they’re REALLY bad for the environment (some States in the US are about to ban them). Body skin is different – it’s much tougher and thicker. Scrubs on the body are fine but I would still recommend doing this only once a week at MOST.

Things like bee pollen can also cause a huge allergic reaction. That’s a LOT of concentrated bee product to be putting on your face. Honey is much less concentrated in allergens but there isn’t very much health benefit in it – so eat it instead of wasting it by putting it on your face. It’s delicious.

Another common one is tea tree oil.  TTO does contain antiseptic, antibacterial properties, for sure. But please dilute it in another carrier oil like almond oil or another neutral oil before you dot it on your spots (DOT, people, don’t slather!). It’s REALLY strong!

Which brings me to the current wonder-product: coconut oil. I CONSTANTLY hear people say that this is all they use to remove makeup, wash their face or moisturize or whatever, any number of things. And it works brilliantly for them! Which is wonderful. Those people are probably not prone to acne though, because let me tell you something that is a scientific fact and not at all an opinion: coconut oil is EXTREMELY comedogenic (meaning that it blocks pores like a mofo). On a scale of 1 to 5, it is a 4. That’s basically just below … what is the most? Beef tallow? Engine oil? So please don’t put it on your face unless you have never had a pimple in your life. Or, by all means give it a red-hot go, but if you break out, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Put it in your food, use it for lube (seriously it’s great for that in my experience *eyebrow waggle*), but please be really careful using it on your face.

If you are still dead-set on using natural products, remember that science often loses to marketing. I dug up this great article on WebMD about things that actually probably/maybe do work, but note that even the “active soy” in one of the products mentioned has been altered in a lab to be more effective. Please also note “industry sponsored study” as a phrase to indicate taking results with a grain of salt.

Natural skincare doesn’t even necessarily save you money. Be very careful of expensive products containing cheap ingredients. It might be important to you that the ingredients in your skincare are sourced ethically, locally or organically, which is of course going to bump the price up. There is incredible, simple, cheap skincare available at the drugstore/pharmacy (Cetaphil, CeraVe etc) that works great for a lot of people. No need to spend an arm and a leg.

Finally: please remember that everything is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Lemon juice is a chemical. Salt is a chemical. Stop talking about things being chemical-free. You are made up of chemicals. If you don’t want to put chemicals on your skin then enjoy never bathing, touching food, dressing or leaving the house ever again. Hooray!

To me, this is a bit like the great Tim Minchin line from his excellent anti-alternative medicine animation, Storm, “You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proven to work? Medicine.” I feel the same way about skincare. Technology is so incredible these days, and skincare / beauty etc is at the forefront (because $). Why shouldn’t we take advantage of the benefits? It can even help the environment. Synthesized ingredients stop the destruction of habitats by mass farming, for example.

Really, I don’t care what people do in their own homes that works for them. The thing that upsets me is when people, particularly people in positions of authority like WG and JH, make dangerous, bad recommendations to their friends or followers that could be disastrous.

Be safe, be careful, do your unbiased research, but mostly – do you boo.

Love,
F&V

 

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 4 – Karuna Clarifying Face Mask (+selfies)

Karuna Clarifying Face Mask

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Skin status prior to application: Clean, dry, no moisturizer.

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Current skin condition: Actually pretty decent, some hormonal pigmentation, slightly dry.

Cost: $8 per mask or $28 for 4. Value is dece if the result is good.

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To use: Unfold mask, place cloth side over face and remove backing. Shift into position making sure all the bits are unfolded. Leave for 20-30 minutes then massage remaining serum into skin.

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During the mask: First off I’ll say that I was annoyed at first with this mask. It’s really wet, though not as wet as the TonyMoly one, and the instructions are bad. They say to position first and then peel the backing paper off but that is straight up bad advice. The backing paper is very stiff, you’re better off getting the basic placement done, peeling the backing away then adjusting the cloth mask. In saying that, once all the bits were in place, it was actually very secure and the different flap sections made the coverage very good. It felt comfortable, though cold, to wear, there was no stinging or anything.

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After: Massaging the serum into my skin felt really nice but as it dried it felt a little bit tight.

2 hours later:  My skin feels nice? I dunno, nothing spectacular, no grand difference in appearance or feel.

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Final verdict: Once again I really think I need to try one of these when I’m having an active breakout. Sorry I can’t give more info!

Well that’s the end of the mask series! It was fun to do, I hope it was helpful.

I thought I’d post some selfies from the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling my makeup lately, nothing special but I felt good.

Strangely I feel that the boost of confidence is from some new clothing purchases I made lately. Just some basics from Old Navy – some chambray shirts that are comfortable and casual and go great with my beloved Uniqlo …jeggings.. I mean, they’re not denim colored but you know what I mean. Pants. Stretchy comfy flattering pants. But anyway, on with the selfies!

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Dark berry/cherry toned reds have been the order of the month so far. Partly because it’s fall and partly because my husband loves these colors on me.

This week I’m going to try to get a post up on Tuesday or Wednesday then I’m off to Chicago for a few days. I’m meeting my beloved mother there, she’s flying from England to meet us, and bringing her amazing partner Dannielle with her so I can FINALLY introduce Dann to my husband, they’ve never met! Mum is then coming back with me to Vermont and we’re gonna hang for a week before I reluctantly send her home on a jet plane. So things might be a little quiet for a week or so while I bask in some maternal love!

Have a great week, teamsters.

Love++
F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 3 – Dr Jart+ Cheek & Eye Lift

Dr Jart+ Cheek & Eye Lift Targeted Hydrogel Patch for the “Apple Zone”

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Skin status prior to application: clean, dry – no moisturizer.

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Current skin condition: normal for me – oily/combo, a touch dry because of the weather. I felt that it was important to take a pic this time since this is meant to make your skin feel “lifted and firm”.

Cost: $12 for one mask, but I got mine in the Dr Jart+ Book of Masks (below) which is $39 ($56 value). Not great value IMO, the result would have to be remarkable!

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To use: Very similar to the last Dr Jart+ one – in that it’s a dry mask that you peel the backing from to reveal a gel surface that you place down onto your skin, this one is just for the cheek and eye area so it goes across the nose onto the apple zone (use a mirror), leave for 30 mins, peel off gently.

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During the mask: Same comments as last time do apply here. It’s very easy to apply, there’s no product dripping everywhere, I really like that aspect of it. It was comfortable while it was on, especially since it is only on one section of your face.

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After: Sadly I do not feel like this did anything for me. My skin felt exactly the same as before. But in saying that; I have relatively young/firm skin anyway because I’m oily – sagging isn’t really something I’m experiencing yet! So if you have dry skin that’s losing some elasticity I’d be really interested in your opinion of this mask!

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2 hours later: I was at a party and didn’t notice anything different! Sorry!

Next day: Absolutely no change or difference in the next-day condition of my skin.

Final Verdict: Would not buy again. It just doesn’t do it for me – mostly because as I said, it treats a problem I don’t have!

Side by side comparison:

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Note: I think the main reason the after looks better is that I was looking up more, lol! I also got my eyebrows threaded right between taking this pic and putting the mask on. Worst experimenter ever!

See you next week for the final installment…

Love++
F&V

#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 2 – Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Hydrogel Mask

Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Full Hydrogel Mask

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Skin status prior to application: Clean skin, not moisturized.

Current skin condition: “normal” for me, a little oily in the t-zone, combination, dry-ish because of the weather. A couple of almost-completely-healed pimples in the middle of the eyebrows.

Cost: $9.00 for one mask, $42.00 for 5 masks. Not amazing value, but let’s see the results before we make an official call.

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To use: Remove from packaging, peel film away from mask, place gel-side down onto face in 2 sections (hint: use a mirror). Leave on for 20-30 mins.

During mask: Ok so I want to use this moment to talk about how GREAT this mask is to apply. I loved it. The mask itself is DRY! Let me explain. While it has the film over it, it feels like … felt material? And the other side is glossy stiff paper. Then you peel that part away and on the other side to the felt is a sticky gel, and that’s the part that goes down on your face. This has multiple benefits. Firstly, it’s really clean to apply. You don’t have a drippy, wet, floppy mask to try to position onto your face. Secondly, it sticks beautifully once it’s down. THIRDLY, it makes you feel less cold and wet while it’s on. Hallelujah! One main drawback is that you can’t really reposition it, well you can, but it loses some of its stick. But this is such a small problem really! It’s such a great mask to use. It feels comfortable while it’s on, you don’t have to constantly adjust it and make sure it’s not sliding off. A+ usage factor! Whee! Note: by the end, this was a bit more annoying. The dryness and lack of moisture meant that the stickiness kind of wore off and I had to keep pressing it back onto my face.

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You can see above why I wish I had looked in a mirror to apply it, it’s a bit wonky around the mouth and eye area. Oh well!

After: My face was completely dry. Not uncomfortably, but not like the usual leftover serum to massage in. I added a smidgen of my usual sleep balm and went to bed.

COSDNA Analysis: http://cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_c505200167.html – no issues at all though some might not love the mineral oil factor.

2 hours later: …. ummm

Confession time: I was mildly tipsy while I did this mask. It was 1am by the time I peeled it off so I went straight to sleep. Sorry!

Next day: My skin feels great! Nothing miraculous (but I never expect miracles), but it felt plump and moisturized and bright and comfortable. Not oily at all, not dry, just comfortable.

Final Verdict: I’m really really impressed with this mask. I think I will try to pick up a few more at some point. It’s a little more expensive than I would like, but I do think it’s a worthwhile cost. The dry, un-soaked, gel style is so pleasant to use compared to the usual sheet mask that’s dripping with product and sliding all over the place. Big fan! Dr Jart+ does it again.

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#MaskVember – A Different Sheet Mask Every Sunday: Week 1 – Tony Moly Rice Mask

So as you can guess from the title, I decided to do a little project for November to motivate myself to get back on board with blogging regularly. Every Saturday night in November I’ll be putting myself through the arduous task of applying a different sheet mask and analyzing the results. Yes, yes I know. I’m a brave soul.

Before I get started, it’s important to note that I do not really believe that one application of a sheet mask can make anything but a superficial difference to the condition of my skin. There’s nothing wrong with that obviously, when my skin feels nice I’m happy, but I just want you to know I’m not expecting miracles here.

There is value in doing things that just feel nice briefly. Self care is really important and what could be better than putting on a sheet mask and relaxing? I painted my nails (loving the CoverGirl Outlast polishes, by the way!) and watched some Netflix, but you could put on some music, lie back and relax (this has the bonus of making the sheet mask lie better on your skin, because gravity). You could do some coloring in your choice of adult coloring book. You could organize your makeup. You could write a blog post. Do whatever you want! But taking time for yourself is key.

Now that that’s all said and done, let’s get started on Week 1.

Tony Moly “I’m Real” Rice Face Sheet Mask – Clear Skin

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Skin status prior to application: Clean skin, not moisturized.

Current skin condition: Normal for me, ie combination – no current active blemishes, texture uneven, large pores, oily t-zone and dry cheeks (I probably should have taken a before photo. Oops!).

Cost: $7.50 for a twin pack, excellent value.

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To use: Remove from package and gently position over cleansed skin. Leave on for 20-30 mins. Remove sheet. Massage remaining serum into skin. Ok!

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During mask: Parts around mouth hole (lol) were very flappy and not very secure, I had to keep smoothing them down onto my face above and below my lips. the rest was very secure

After: Serum is viscous enough to stay on the skin, and slippery enough to provide a nice base for a facial massage (clean hands).

COSDNA analysis: No major issues – http://www.cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_ce7d191543.html

2 hours later: Skin still feeling very well moisturized, a little tacky to the touch, no dry patches or tight feeling. Night time mask only.

Next day: First impressions were good. My skin felt soft, my forehead and nose were a bit oily but that’s pretty normal for me upon waking up. However, when I looked in the mirror, I had two surface pimples right between my eyebrows. This is a classic place for me to get “reaction” pimples, as opposed to my usual hormonal ones that appear around my chin and jaw, or normal breakouts.

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Confession time: You know how I said this was a twin-pack? Well, I actually used the first of these a couple of months back. And it gave me a couple of small pimples then, too. That’s why I didn’t use the second one for a long time. But then I thought, ok so I bet that was just a once-off, maybe it was from something else! Alas, no.

Final verdict: Nope. Won’t be buying again. And if this is the “clear skin” product, I certainly won’t be trying any of the others in the range either.

Stay tuned for next week, dear readers.

Love+++
F&V

Disappointing Beauty Products: Episode 1

I thought I’d do a quick post about some very disappointing products I’ve encountered over the last few months.

Disclaimer: I know for a fact that some people absolutely love these products. I am not saying that these are objectively bad. Just for me, they were disappointing.

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First up, the Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray. I had heard amazing things about this brand so I was really excited when I got it in a beauty box! I followed the directions and sprayed this generously on my short, coarse, thick, dry hair when it was damp, then blow dried on medium heat like I always do. After it was dry, my hair was actually worse than it usually is. It felt rough and limp. Not happy. I didn’t bother using it again.

Now, I love Lush‘s body products. I do. I love their massage bars particularly. I really wanted to try Pearl, because it had the scent of Rose Jam in it, which I love (it’s a shower gel). But when we tried to use it, it was basically impossible to use without getting crunchy, sharp and scratchy bits of dried sago bubbles mixed into the melted oil, which really sucked and hurt when rubbed into the skin. What the hell, Lush?! Ugh.

The MDMflow Greater Than Mascara was HIGHLY touted as being absolutely amazing. I got it in a beauty box. Before I got my Boxycharm, I saw on their instagram that a lot of people had complained that it was garbage and they posted that it had to be ~primed~ first or some dumb crap. But I thought, ok. So when I got it, with its beautiful heft, shiny golden packaging and minimalist font, I really wanted to love it. I primed it carefully as per the instructions (a lot of pumping basically). It. Was. Garbage. Utter and complete crap. I swept it onto my lashes, nothing. Again: nothing. Once more just to see. Nothing. Aaaabsolutely nothing. Not a skerrick of mascara on my lashes. For like $30, get directly fucked mate. Glad I didn’t pay that much for it.

The Aussie 3 Minute Miracle hair treatment is a hilarious product to me because even though I am Australian I’ve never even heard of this brand. A friend recommended giving this a go for my “oh god I just changed climates and my hair is fried” issues. I followed the directions and left it on for 3+ minutes while I did other things and massaged it into my hair a bit. Rinsed it out and again it didn’t feel any better than before. Nada. I gave it 3 more goes, because it comes in a huge bottle (it’s really cheap too, if it works for you I’m jealous!) and I had nothing to lose. Still nothing. But this one is one I know works for a lot of people so it might just be that my hair is super fucked, you know? Anyway.


(I know I’ve used this gif before but Jebediah Atkinson is my spirit animal)

The Yes to Grapefruits wipes were one that Lily Pebbles or Fleur deForce or some other British beauty bloggers had in their favorites. I was looking for a way to not wet my face in the morning because I’m super lazy so I thought I’d use wipes to skip the cleansing process. Ummmm yeah look guys, this one’s on me. I think these wipes are actually quite good at what they do: they’re brightening and rejuvenating but the problem is that I’m quite sensitive and these are full of alcohol, peppermint oil and other irritants. If you have not sensitive, dull, lifeless skin then I would recommend giving these a go. But they broke me out to the max because I AM sensitive and these really were the catalyst for me to start figuring out which products were irritating me. So yeah, sorry.

The Hourglass primer serum made my skin feel dry and crunchy and weird. I thought it was meant to be hydrating? It also had a really strong scent which puts me off. I only had a little sample of it thankfully. Important note: the Hourglass Mineral Veil primer is WONDERFUL and if I could afford it I’d buy the huge jumbo size of it. Just this one isn’t that great.

The Sephora lip ink was another sample thank god because even though it read like it would be moisturizing and pigmented it was neither and nothing has ever dried out my lips as fast as this did. Straight in the bin.

I did a post about the Rimmel ScandalEyes eyeshadow stick and how much I disliked it so I won’t go into it. Cream stick eyeshadows just don’t seem to like me – well drugstore ones anyway.

The MICA beauty cosmetics gel liner had so. much. promise. It went on super pigmented, super opaque and so creamy. It was glorious. I played so happily with it. But it smudged, smeared, stamped on my upper eyelid and just did not dry at all. It was bad. And I was so sad. I wanted to love it, but this was the worst gel liner I’ve ever come across, ever. The end.

I would love to know if you guys have ever used any of these and if so, what you thought!

Love++
F&V

July Favorites: Beauty etc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend loves.

Love+++
F&V

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

How To: Lipstick Application Tricks and Techniques

Lipstick! If you follow me on instagram or anything like that you’ll know that I frickin love lipstick. I LOVE IT. I wear it all the time, mostly pinks and reds but I’m starting to learn to love berry/purpleish shades as well.

Admittedly, I’ve always just kinda had a knack for putting on lipstick. I remember someone saying that to me when I was in my early 20s. “How come you always put lipstick on so fast and it turns out perfect?” I don’t know. I didn’t realise that until then. Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I have large lips: I have a greater margin for error.

Today I’m going to talk about a few different things. Lipliner, lipstick, liquid lipstick and lip crayons. I’m not going to go into too much detail on each product because I already did that in the lip series.

Before I put on any kind of lipstick I always make sure my lips are really well moisturized. Especially if you’re going to wear a long-wear lipstick, this is really important unless you want to be super uncomfortable pretty fast. I use good old Lanolips, or any ChapStick balm etc – whatever you want. I usually put that on at the beginning of my makeup application so it has time to absorb. There’s also a lot of lip primers you can get, I use the MAC one and I’m not really sure that it makes any difference but I use it anyway. It’s kind of a silicone-y feeling product, it’s possible that it fills in lines so that the lipstick can smooth over the top but I’m really not sure. Anyway it’s not important. Just make sure your lips are exfoliated (use a q-tip with some lip balm, or a fancy lip scrub, or some sugar and olive oil if you want) and hydrated.

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Pls do not judge me for not putting anything but foundation and concealer on. I’m not even sorry.

First up let’s talk about lipliner. If you want a really long lasting application I strongly recommend using lipliner. It gives a good foundation for your application and can really help you to create a perfectly defined outer line. However, I think it’s best to colour in the entire lip and not just the outline.

For lipliner, I really feel like you can’t go past MAC. I have used MAC Cherry for my red lipsticks for years. It’s a great all-rounder.

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I always start with my cupid’s bow when I do my lip line. It’s the hardest part, IMO, so you want to do it when the pencil is at its sharpest (I always sharpen my lipliners before I use them, I know it’s wasteful but it makes a huge difference). I like to make a semi-smile and trace the edges carefully. You don’t want to smile so hard that your lips stretch out – this can result in a warped line. Just enough so that the skin at the edge of your lips doesn’t catch while you draw the line.

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So that’s how I start. One great thing I learned about lipliner is that it’s not about drawing in one straight, continuous, perfect line. What are you, superhuman? Nobody can do that! You want to use short, careful strokes to draw a line that follows your lips. Don’t try to do it all at once. Continue this all the way around the lipline. Make sure you go into the corners, if you’re like me and your lipline really narrows in at the corners, be careful and precise in these areas – use a light hand.

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Then just use the flat side of the crayon to fill in the rest of the lip. You could use the tip but it would take you forever. Aint nobody got time for that.

2015-07-08 17.04.58All filled in. This is just lipliner. You could go out like this if you wanted!

So then we go in with our lipstick. If you want, you can apply it straight from the bullet. That’s what I do most of the time. This, unfortunately isn’t really something I can give you any help with.  It just takes practice. I use the same “smile-ish” strategy to stop my lips from pulling and tugging too much, and I always do my cupid’s bow first. Usually I’ll do my upper lip then stamp my lips together to add some color to my lower lip.

But today we’re going to talk about applying with a lip brush. Do you have to do this? No of course not, lots of people go through their whole makeup wearing lives not using a lip brush but I like it for making a super long-wearing lip. It works the color into the lip so that it really stains. It also enables you to be more precise. To do this, I take the lip brush and just get some off the bullet onto the brush.

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Then, starting at the cupid’s bow, I carefully apply the color to the lip.

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When I go into the corners, I just use the edges of the brush, or the tip of the brush to carefully add color only where it’s needed. You can open your mouth a little wider here, so you can see better. The key is just to be careful.

When you go along the bottom edge of the lip, I do find it better to turn the brush and go on the side. This makes it easier to drag the brush down and make a straight line. But again – feel free to use shorter strokes so you are less likely to make mistakes.

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But guess what! If you do make a mistake you can fix it super easily. Just grab a q-tip with a little makeup remover (I like micellar water for this task) and run it along the lipline where the issue is. While you’re running it along the lipline, slowly turn it as well so that you’re not rubbing the lipstick everywhere. Don’t ever use the same end of a q-tip twice. TRUST me. And you know what? Most makeup artists will tell you that they do this on almost every single client. Mistakes happen – clean up carefully and don’t make it worse if you can help it!

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Once you’ve brushed over the whole lip, it’s time to blot. Grab a tissue and fold it in half then press it lightly between your lips. Don’t press too hard or you’ll smudge everything. After that I usually do another layer of lipstick, just with the bullet to add a final layer of color opacity. Done!

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Yeah look I didn’t do a single thing with my hair but it’s not because I don’t love you, ok?

Ok so let’s move on to liquid lipsticks. These are definitely harder to apply, there is no arguing with that. They can be messy, and therefore tricky. Some people still like to use a lip brush to apply these, for the sake of precision. Feel free to do that. I don’t though, because I’m like super rebellious and stuff.

First up, again make sure your lips are hydrated. Liquid lipsticks, though the name suggests otherwise, are often very drying. This means that they’re very long lasting but they do require your lips to be in great shape.

To get started, once again I always start with the cupid’s bow.

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Then just slowly and carefully make your way around the edges.

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Now go into the corners. My strategy with liquid lipstick is to juuuuust touch the wand to the corners of my lips. Any more pressure than that causes mess. I also don’t stretch my mouth too wide open because this makes the lipstick cover more surface area than it needs to. You might need to open your mouth a little but don’t go nuts.

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Same rules apply if you make a mistake. Just clean up the edge with some makeup remover on a q-tip or on a flat definer brush like so:

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One thing I did here was deepen my cupid’s bow a little. As you can see here, I overdrew it a smidge (kinda looks like my lipline goes straight across at the top) and wanted to make sure it was well defined:

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So I just took a finger (make sure it’s clean of lipstick!), pressed it to the area of skin above my cupid’s bow and dragged it downwards towards the lip. I hope that makes sense!

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I forgot to take an after, but I did take this ridiculous shot, ENJOY!

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You can add another layer on top of this if you want but I sometimes find that makes things too chunky and thick. By the way, for this I used Kat von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in “Outlaw”.

Next I want to talk about lip crayons. These generally have a little less color payoff but they are very easy to use. Kinda like a giant lip liner! So they’re a 2-in1. My favourite ones are the NARS Lip Pencils. Today I used Dragon Girl which is a Velvet Matte lip pencil.

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Again let’s make sure it’s nice and sharp before we start, and our lips are nice and hydrated. Now just use the tip of the crayon to go around the edges of the lips then use the flat of the crayon to color in the lips. Build it up until you get the level of color you want.

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What’s that? Oh why yes, it is incredibly intimidating to post close-ups of your less-than-perfect skin. Thanks for asking! Anyway, shit’s gotta get done right?

Et voila!

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So those are main techniques I use. Another thing I want to mention is a great technique I use when I really just want a very light wash of color. Basically you just want to get a little lipstick on your finger, straight from the bullet is fine, and “pat” it into the lips. You can build this up into quite a deep stain if you want, but I usually wear it quite sheer.

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You can wear it just like that:

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Or you can add a gloss if that’s your thing:

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Some other tidbits: the suck your finger thing. That’s to remove lipstick that might be on the inside area of your lips and could transfer to your teeth. I don’t bother with it, but if you find that your lips are shaped such that you get lipstick on your teeth, feel free to do that before you finish up your lipstick. Just try to only touch the inside of your lips to your finger and not your whole lips or you’ll ruin your hard work! Do you have to powder your lipstick? No, and honestly I wouldn’t, you’re just adding product which can make your lipstick really chunky.

Remember, the bottom line is that everyone’s lip shape is different. You learn about your own by practicing. I’m sorry! I wish I had the perfect-lipstick-every-time answers but I don’t.

I really hope that answers some questions about lip products.