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+++

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ZERO REGRETS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ahem

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

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Swatched:

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

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

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Swatched on skin:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love+++