How Really NOT To: Babby’s First Z-Palette

So, I decided to buy a Z-Palette in the Sephora sale. I don’t have very many de-pottable shadows, but I’m probably going to grab some Makeup Geek ones soon and they need a palette to go in. So I picked up this saucy little number on the last day of the sale (along with a much-awaited shade from the Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lips range – Nosferatu!).

When it arrived, I grabbed some eyeshadows that I could de-pot and confidently set to work. First up, I grabbed “Wedge” by MAC and stuck the spatula that comes with the palette into the side of the container between the metal pan and the plastic. Then, I tried to pry it up. Hmmm. This seems.. weirdly difficult..

Of course, I cracked the eyeshadow. In fact, I made a mess of it. Oops. Eventually I tried the straightening iron method – put the plastic case of the eyeshadow on the plate of the iron and let it get warm. It kinda worked. But I needed more meltage.

… Wait I’m meant to put some foil on the plate? Ok. That makes sense. Melted plastic on my GHDs wouldn’t be good.

Ok that’s better. I pried the palette out finally, then used an alcohol swab to clean the glue from the bottom of the pan. The pan isn’t magnetic of course. Typical. I added one of the little sticky magnetic plates, put it in the palette and I was done.

Next I had an Urban Decay eyeshadow (Half Baked, one of my favorite eyeshadows OF LIFE). It was initially easy, because the pan just pops out of the main container, but NOOOooo, the part that pops out is still in a plastic thing aaaargh okay okay I’ll just do the same thing I did before.

The bottom of the plastic actually got a little bit melted itself which was good, because I needed to use a pin to push the metal palette up out of the thing. It eventually happened but it was REALLY DIFFICULT and once again the eyeshadow got a little messed up. I just re-set it with alcohol though. Sigh

The final eyeshadow was a Sephora one. I opened the container and wow, a little divot right next to the edge of the pan, PERFECTLY SIZED for putting my spatula into! No glue! So easy! Oh and it’s magnetic! YAYYY ok this was great and fine, and took about 15 seconds total. THANK YOU SEPHORA!

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The final verdict? Not really worth it. I’ll only use this in the future if I don’t have to de-pot, ie for shadows that come in pans already. Hmph.

Love+++
F&V

Product Focus: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Cream Eyeshadows

One of my absolute favorite things is when I find a product that’s reasonably priced (ie drugstore priced) and AMAZING quality. This is one of my greatest joys. And these little babies are my absolute first thought when I think of great drugstore dupes.

What are they? They’re these cute little numbers…

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They come in really good quality glass jars with a tightly-fitting plastic lid. They feel much more expensive and luxurious than their US$8 cost. They come in a bunch of different colors and finishes. You get a tonne of product for your buck. They’re seriously great. The packaging is important, because air is the enemy of cream shadows. It makes them crusty and too dry. Yuck. You always want glass with a tightly fitting lid. That goes for cream/gel liner pots too.

So how does one use them? Well the answer is super mega varied, to be honest with you. But let’s cover the basics.

First of all, you can use them just like normal eyeshadow. You do have to work quickly, but there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from dabbing a bit of them onto your eyelids and blending them out with either your finger or a brush. The way I normally apply them (the one I wear most often, Bad to the Bronze, always gets applied like this) is to pat some onto my center eyelid then use a MAC 217 or something like that to buff out the edges so it’s not a stark line. That’s it. Done. This can be done with or without primer. I find these to be so longlasting without creasing that I don’t bother too much with primer.

In fact, that brings me to my next point. You can use these AS a base. They’re not PRIMER as such, but they’re amazingly long lasting and you can use them to layer other colors on top (powder shadows), to make the colors really pop a lot more. One strategy is to use a black or dark color to stick bright colors to – do you ever find that brights don’t look as bright on your eyelid as they do in the pan? Try this trick and report back. You’re welcome in advance.

So one weird trick you can also use these for is contour. I know. Bear with me. My friend Mary told me a few months back that when she’s doing more costume/drag type makeup she will use the shade Creamy Beige to do a rather dramatic contour. I was skeptical but when I tried it, you know what, it’s actually great. Like I said, it’s pretty dramatic, but it looked legit good and cool. Something you would use if you were doing a Maleficent makeup, for example.

For cream shadows, these are quite ‘hard’. They’re not soft and creamy and liquidy like say the MaxFactor Excess Shimmer shadows, or even the Chanel Illusion d’Ombre ones. I would compare them more to the MAC paint pots though even those are a little softer. But this is actually a good thing, in my opinion. It means that they’re hardier and less likely to crease in your … creases.

For this reason I suggest using your fingers over a brush, at least for placing the color down. You can use a brush to blend it out and smooth it but for application I think fingers works best. Just get a little bit on your fingertip and then pat it on carefully (or not carefully, I don’t care, I’m not your mum).

But it’s not all good news. For one thing, the quality of these shadows vary WILDLY between shades which is something that really pisses me off. I want a reliable product that performs the same across different shades. But noooo.. sigh. So that’s really annoying. This seems to be as good a time as any to show you some swatches.

2015-10-13 12.26.49Top to bottom: Silver Strike, tenacious Teal, Tough as Taupe, Creamy Beige, Bad to the Bronze, Inked in Pink, Pomegranate Punk, Fuchsia Fever, Dramatic Black.

So you’re not blind. You can see what I’m saying. The last two are absolutely the worst, but Silver Strike is also particularly bad. Important note: some of these swatches being a bit “thick” in parts are just from me being a little overzealous with how much product I got on my fingertip – Bad to the Bronze particularly because I just love it so much and it’s probably the easiest to use as well. So you can see that Fuchsia Fever is just total garbage in fact I don’t know why I don’t just throw it out, same with Dramatic Black – though DB isn’t as bad as FF, with a little work it’s perfectly serviceable – I just have a better one in MAC’s Blackground paint pot.

Pomegranate Punk and Inked in Pink are also a little bit patchy but they work fine with a little extra work. Tenacious Teal, Bad to the Bronze, Creamy Beige, Tough as Taupe all work wonderfully. There’s another shade called Barely Branded that’s also excellent, but IMO it’s quite similar to, again, a MAC paint pot that I already own so I don’t feel a strong need to pick that one up (what is wrong with me?).

Here’s another swatch pic featuring dog, before I sign off..

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Review: ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip – Budget Friendly Liquid Lipsticks?! Yep.

I finally grabbed some of these recently after resisting for quite some time. I decided to have a play today and I’m quite impressed so far!

I also bought a couple of new Kat von D Metal Crush shadows recently (Thrasher, Black No.1 and Doce, which is brand new) so I had a play with those as well, hooray! Colors!

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These are lovely. I don’t know what else to say. I’m a huge fan. I wish they were released in a palette, because I want all of them. They’re creamy and buttery, pigmented and super, suuuper shiny. Almost wet-looking in their shiny metallicness. I love them! I decided to just go nuts and use all three today and this is what I came up with…

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Doce, in the center, is a gorgeous fall color. It’s a coppery, reddish warm tone. It’s not as much of a true brownish copper as Synergy, but not as red as Raw Power.

Anyway, moving on to the the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips.

I bought Donut, Mars, Succulent, Guess and Lychee. They’re $6 a pop so it’s hard to resist buying more than one!

I tried on Guess last night and while it is interesting I’m not completely sold on it. Same with Donut. I have the same problem with Donut that I have with Mi-Am-Ee from Australis’ VelourLips range. It’s a bit light and a bit watermelon-y for my taste and it made me feel a bit ridiculous. So I’m sorry to say that those are going to need a bit more work/bravery from me before there are pics. But Mars, Succulent and Lychee are all great! Here they are, in that order:

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Fun right! Ok so as for the consistency, it’s good. It’s somehow more comfortable than a lot of other liquid lipsticks. It’s only been a couple of hours but other ones often “flake/pill” up on me by now so I’m impressed. One layer was enough to build adequate opacity, and they were easy to apply with the applicator. Guess was tougher but that’s just because the color is less forgiving – mistakes are easier to see with dark colors. They dry down matte but not chunky. Because you don’t have to use a lot of it, it doesn’t get an opportunity to feel too ‘thick’ on your lips. Good times!

All in all, for $6 each I kinda feel like you can’t go wrong. The packaging is sturdy and not cheap-feeling.

2015-09-27 14.29.36L-R: Succulent, Mars, Lychee, Donut, Guess

Here’s the swatches in the same order as above:

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The lower end is a bit liquidy because that’s where I first touched with the wand, but the other end is already dry not more than a few seconds after application. Pretty impressive stuff.

So anyway that’s my review for today – pretty much loving all o’ dis. September Favorites is coming up this week.

Thanks for reading!

Love++
F&V

New Makeup Monday: Kat von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow

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

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

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

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

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

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Here they are swatched together:

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

2015-08-17 17.44.55Synergy

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

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

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

Love++
F&V

Drugstore Haul and Product Review: Hits & Misses

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

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

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

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All looking okay so far, let’s continue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In brighter light:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love+++
F&V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look 1:

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

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

Look 2:

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

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

Look 3:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Love++
F&V

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

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

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My collection! <3_<3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golds / Coppers / Neutrals: The Light Ones

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

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

Golds / Coppers / Neutrals: The Slightly Less Light Ones

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

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

Greys and Blues

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

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

Greens and Greeny-Blues

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

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

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

A few more points about this brand…

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

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Photo from Baroque Cosmetics – click to visit the site!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some fabulous advice here!

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

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

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

FullSizeRender_2Lid – Boiler Room

FullSizeRender_3Soft & neutral – Good Doggy is TRUTH.

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading. Go forth and purchase!