September Favorites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok bye lovers!

Love+++
F&V

Makeup Startup: Bronzer for Beginners

Hi! I’m back. Thanks for your patience. End of August and all of September is a crazy time for me at work, but I’m going to try to pre-write blog posts to keep some kind of regularity.

Today I want to talk about bronzer. I am really new to bronzer! I bought my first one about a year ago and used it once before abandoning it because I felt like I looked as if I’d rolled around in a pan of brownies. Not cool.

I think I avoided bronzer for so long because I thought that if you wore bronzer it was because you wanted to look tanned and summery all the time. Or in the more extreme cases because you like to look like you ate a packet of Doritos a little too aggressively.

AHH! ummm. You look very.. healthy..

But actually, bronzer is a great way to give your face some shape and dimension. Foundation tends to flatten out our complexions – which is what you want, even skin tone, even color. But adding back in some color can really give our faces back some life.

I learned about bronzer finally this year at MAC in Burlington. I went in there and said I was having trouble choosing the right one, that I was trying to keep it matte and avoid too much shimmer, but that I still wanted to give my face some life. She recommended that I try using one of their face powders – specifically the Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in “Medium Deep” – ie for someone whose skin tone is about 4 shades deeper than mine. She used a paddle-type brush with a tapered end and flat sides to sweep bronzer onto the sides of my face in a “C” shape. I was SO impressed by the effect that I went back and bought the powder the next day.

So this morning I started with a totally blank slate. My skin is looking great at the moment, this is about as good as it gets!

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Next up, I used some Smashbox Primer Water to provide a nice sticky base, then applied some Kat von D Tattoo Lock-It foundation (still trialling this one, but it DOES have good coverage!), plus the matching concealer and powder.

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Decent base, but not a lot of shape or definition. So like I said, I use a “C” shape (well, in this case a backwards C (um excuse me what did you just call me m8?!)) to add some shape back into the face. I swipe the end of the brush through the bronzer and then use the straight end of the brush to apply the product. Then I use the flat sides of the brush to go over it and blend. See my extremely profesh diagram:

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End result:

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And a comparison:

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Not overly golden or tanned just a bit of shape and definition. Today I used the MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural in Medium Deep as discussed earlier, and a paddle-like ELF complexion brush that I got for like $5 from KMart:

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But here are some other bronzers I own and use fairly often:

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Top: Tarte Bronzer in “Park Ave”, MAC MSFN in “Medium Deep”, Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer, Too Faced Soul Mates Blushing Bronzer in “Carrie & Big”.

So you can see I mostly lean towards cooler toned (ie, not orangey warm-browns) bronzers with not much shimmer. The heart-shaped TF bronzer does have a little bit of shimmer to it which can be nice. It’s more of a glowy shimmer than a glittery one. The Tarte bronzer has a tiny bit of shimmer in it too but not enough that it makes you look like a disco ball. I think that for beginners the TF Milk Chocolate Soleil is a fabulous choice (or the darker shades for someone who might not be as pale as me). It’s really matte, really subtle and can be built up slowly.

And here is the finished look with some blush. I haven’t added any eye or lip makeup, I just did my brows (early in the piece) and used some setting spray.

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Products used:

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The end! I’m going to do a disappointing products post soon. You also may notice that there’s no August favorites. I think Favorites posts will be bi-monthly, or I need to start making notes of things I’m really enjoying throughout the month.. Whenever the end of the month comes around I can never think of anything I’ve really loved, that I haven’t already talked about!

Sorry, once again, for the irregularity! Sometimes life gets in the way, you know?

So tell me, how do you use your bronzer? I’m such a noob, I’d love some more tips!

Love+++
F&V

Is it a Dupe? Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge v. Beauty Blender

I haven’t done one of these in awhile so I thought I’d compare these two products, since I very recently caved and bought a Beauty Blender for the first time.

Beauty Blenders are pretty famous cult foundation and concealer application items and I’m not sure why I held out for so long, but it’s over now and I have one. I thought I’d do one half of my face with each one to see what I thought.

I’ve had one of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponges (ugh god that’s a mouthful I’m dropping the Miracle) for awhile now, not that I use it super often, I just find that brushes are so much faster it’s hard to justify fussing around with a sponge. Here are the two products side by side, in their totally dry state:

2015-08-19 13.41.27 HDROrange: RT Complexion Sponge; Pink: Beauty Blender

To use them both you need to soak them, really thoroughly, with cold water. I do this under running water from the tap, squeezing and expanding them til they’re fully soaked then I squeeze all the water out and press between a towel to really make sure there’s no excess water.

When they’re dry, the BB does feel a little bit more firm to me. But when I wet them, I really couldn’t tell a difference. I tried really hard – I held them both up and closed my eyes and squeezed many times like some insane swami. I really couldn’t tell a difference.

Let’s get started. Here’s my no-makeup-just-moisturizer face.

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Hormonal pigmentation at its finest

I used one of my favorite liquid foundations, the YSL Fusion Ink foundation. I despise the applicator on this bottle (it is basically a stick?) so I poured some out onto my palette (ie the inner lid part of a Mason jar).

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First up I did the right side of my face with the RT sponge. I dabbed a little of the product on my face in key areas first. For both these products it’s best to use a patting, dabbing, pressing motion. Daubing? Is that a thing? Idk. This gives the best result in terms of a flawless finish. I used the flat section for the larger parts of my face like my cheeks, and the pointy bit for nearer my eyes and each side of my nose, and the rounder side for my temples and jawline (on the jawline I used a little more of a gentle, short swiping motion to bring the foundation down my neck a little bit).

2015-08-19 14.31.51Pretty good coverage IMO!

I forgot to take a pic of that side with no makeup, sorry. But here’s the left side without makeup:

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Here’s a “during” shot of using the beauty blender on the left side:

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Why do I have a Justin Bieber expression on my face?

So you can see that I’ve dabbed a little foundation on my face first and I’m pressing it against my skin in quick motions to blend it out. If you have a foundation that dries fast you will need to do this in sections.

Here’s the left side done:

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Also pretty amazing coverage – it’s hard to say which is best but if I had to make a call, I’d say the side with the beauty blender. I will say though, that I found the beauty blender a little slower on the blending. It took me a little longer. I’m wondering if that’s because the surface area touching your skin is a little smaller with the BB? I’m not sure, but it’s super negligible and I wouldn’t even consider it a problem it’s just something to note.

So here’s the side by side of just foundation done:

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And here’s the finished face makeup + brows:

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My conclusive thoughts are that these are both really excellent products. There is one major difference though, and that’s the price. In the USA you can get both these from a bunch of places (for example from Sephora) but it retails for $20 so it’s up there in price. I have heard too that with frequent washing (which you should ABSOLUTELY DO by the way – every time you use it, it’s a wet sponge and it can harbour nasties!) it starts to come apart but that might be a result of washing too vigorously. It also fades and the color runs but meh, no biggie. The RT complexion sponge you can get for $6 (from official site). Less even on places like iHerb.com. So the price difference is enormous and I’m not 100% sure that the BB is worth the extra $14.

In Australia you can find the BB at CrushCosmetics for $27, and the RT Complexion Sponge at Priceline for $16.99 if you can’t wait for shipping, or on iHerb.com for $8.20 (in fact you can get the two-pack on iHerb for less than the cost of one at Priceline. iHerb owns). So the price difference is ridiculous. Based on that alone I will probably repurchase the RT sponge and not the BB. It’s not that great!

A note on washing: use something like baby shampoo or I know some swear by Dr Bronners Castille soap bars (I’m going to get some today!) as a dupe for the official beautyblender cleansing bar. You want something thoroughly clarifying, I’m not sure face wash would do the job. Wet, damp environments attract bacteria so make sure you do this every time you use it – wash it under a warm tap, adding a little cleanser when it gets squeezed out until the water goes clear. This goes for both products.

So is it a dupe? I think yes. They’re almost identical. A more sophisticated user may think differently but for me they’re basically the same and the price point makes the RT sponge the clear winner.

I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know if I should do more things like this in the future.

Love++
F&V

Makeup Startup: Face Base-ics [Higher End Brands]

I had weirdly put off this post, and I think I have figured out why. It’s all part of my stupid “I am not worthy of opinions about makeup what do I know!?” thing. And the stakes are higher here, because if one of you guys takes my advice and buys one of these then you spent LOTS OF MONEY AND WHAT IF IT SUCKS OH GOD

Anyway that’s ridiculous and stupid, you guys know what works for you and what doesn’t, and if you don’t maybe this will actually help! Or you can take it back. Probably. YOU DO YOU, BOO!

Buying foundation at places like Sephora, Mecca or department stores where it’s going to be more than $30 is scary to me. What if it sucks? What am I going to do with it?! Well the good news is that lots of places have amazing returns policies these days, I know Mecca and Sephora do, anyway. Not sure about department stores. And they usually have great sample policies too, they’ll give you a decent sized sample so you can try a few. Like the sample haul I recently obtained from Sephora, for example…

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Thanks, Holly at Sephora in JCPenney West Lebanon!

Anyway, on with the post. Here’s my collection.

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It’s not super extensive really, compared to the drugstore one, because of aforementioned nervousness. As always there’s lots of high coverage, matte finishes but not all…

Note: I’m going to include some brushes in these photos, I’ll try to match the foundation to its best applicator.

First up, the newest foundation from a favorite makeup brand of mine – NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation.

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I wasn’t really planning on buying this, because when I read “luminous” I lose interest immediately. I’m oily. I don’t need any more luminous-ness. Or do I?! Lately I’m being divested of that opinion a little bit, as luminous products become more “sophisticated, subtle glow” and less “terrifying greasy disco ball”. Anyway, point of the story, I do not think this product is very luminous. When the lady at Mecca in Sydney put it on me I was like “… dude this isn’t glowy at all” and she agreed wholeheartedly. I think NARS is kinda bad with naming their foundations on the whole. You can see that I have a sample of NARS Sheer Glow that I’m getting through at the moment. It’s not sheer or too glowy really, I love it and I’m pretty sure it’ll be my next purchase. One of the main things I think has always held me back from NARS foundation purchases is that they have not previously had a pump on the packaging. ADLW does! When I discovered this, I knew it had to be mine after I saw how beautiful it was on my skin. I was a weirdly different shade than I would have thought (Vallauris, described as medium with pink undertones) – much darker, and honestly every time I apply it I freak out but once it settles, it looks fine and it looks especially nice in photographs. Observe my “day of freaking out that I really had bought a too-dark shade” on instagram, including a before & after (at top):

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NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation demo pictures

Looks pretty nice, and I do think it’s quite full coverage as described. You’re meant to be able to achieve full coverage with one drop but I don’t really know what that means. Of my whole face? Ummmm

I still need to use at least a pump of this, a bit more depending on what I’m using to apply. Speaking of which: I really like to use a dense brush to apply this. I know that some would say using a dense brush creates too much coverage but for me that’s not really a thing, and this foundation doesn’t lend itself to cakiness unless you truly slather it on, I don’t recommend doing this obviously. The Sigma F88 Angled Flat Kabuki is perfect for this. The angle of the brush means that there’s a slightly pointed end to it which is great for getting into the corners of the eye area and the nose. I do not feel that this foundation requires any powder, maybe a tiny bit to set concealer and in the t-zone.

Important tip! Shake the everloving CRAP out of this product before applying it. Shake it for about twice as long as you think you should!

I think this is a great foundation for all skin types, even those who have dry skin, if full coverage is something you strive for. You don’t need much to achieve good coverage. The packaging is nice and sturdy, it’s heavy matte glass so not amazing for travel but it comes with a pump so that’s great, good job NARS! Now make it so we don’t have to buy a separate pump with the others, please and thank you, that’s really obnoxious. Nobody wants a gross, messy open-necked bottle what are we meant to do, pour it out? Stick a q-tip in there? Idk. Anyway, you can grab this sexy little number from Sephora in the USA for $48 or in Australia for $70 from Mecca. Yep – it’s up there in price! But it is a luxe brand that I trust, so I’m down.

Speaking of luxe and trusted brands, here’s the next gem – Chanel Mat Lumiere foundation.

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I bought this on a very special day (actually, exactly a year ago today in Australia!) from Terry White Chemists in Stockland. The Chanel lady did my makeup and I really liked how matte and flawless my makeup looked!

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Bronzer man. It’s a thing.

However. I think she did do quite a bit of bronzing on top of the foundation and as such, I ended up buying too light a shade. I still wear it when I want to look ~ethereal~ and flawless because the coverage is NO JOKE. It is FULL ON. But you know me, I’m into that!

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Uhhh yes.. Needs bronzer.. like.. a lot of it..

I have this weird thing with expensive foundation where I don’t wear it very often in case I waste it. How stupid is that! It’ll go off before I use it all which is such a shame, and I’m vowing right now to bronze up and use it more often. It’s not really great for every day, but I can mix it with some moisturizer or something probably. I need to use it!

I like to apply this with a damp Real Techniques Complexion Sponge, but if you have a Beauty Blender that’d do a great job too (determined to pick up one of those soon!). I just think that because of the high coverage, a sponge does a great job of making the finish a little more natural, blended and flawless and not cakey. You use these sponges by soaking the sponge through completely then squeezing out as much liquid as possible, then “pressing / dabbing” the foundation on, don’t wipe it around with the sponge. Vintageortacky does a great tutorial about foundation sponges, I recommend checking it out if you’re interested! Once again I do not feel this foundation requires powdering apart from essential areas.

Weirdly this is no longer available in the USA. I think it might have been superseded by the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet which is $47 from Nordstrom and available obviously wherever you can get Chanel makeup. In Australia you can pick up the Mat Lumiere from David Jones for $72 and the Perfection Lumiere Velvet (which I have not tried, but have heard amazing things about) for $77 also from DJs and Myer as well of course, whichever you prefer. I wear shade 20 (clair) in this one.

Another relatively recent (last 6 months) foundation purchase is the DiorSkin Forever Foundation.

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I went to the Dior counter in Brisbane Myer to try the Star foundation but the SA talked me out of it and convinced me to try this one. She was totally right (I still want to try the Star one day!), this is a great foundation for me. This was really my first foray into not just buying the super palest shade imaginable. I thought it was too dark, but when I put it on I really liked that it looked natural and not washed out, even though the coverage was quite good. Again it was a situation where I turned to my pretties on instagram to confirm that I was in fact wearing a shade that suited me for the first time in … ok for the first time ever.

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Me, not being a ghost/zombie

The finish is matte but not dull. It’s a really nice everyday foundation for those of us who like a little bit more coverage. It sits really comfortably on the skin and doesn’t go cakey or settle too much into pores (though for me this is an inevitable result of any makeup application, that’s just the way it is). It’s not as full coverage as the Chanel or the NARS, and it is easier to blend than both. This is a great all-rounder foundation. I apply it with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which is dense enough to give a good amount of coverage whilst being soft enough to blend easily and quickly. I use a little powder to set in the t-zone and any areas I’ve applied concealer.

This one is $77 in Australia at David Jones and $50 at Sephora in the USA, making it the priciest of the bunch but well worth it IMO! I wear shade 20.

Finally, a new one that I recently picked up when I returned two sub-par products to Sephora. It’s the BareMinerals Complexion Perfector gel-cream foundation.

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I was looking for something that would be more of a light-medium coverage as well as something with a bit of hydration, and to be honest I argued with Holly at Sephora in JCP about BareMinerals. It has never been a brand that appealed to me all that much, and I’ve already discussed my “wtf even IS mineral makeup” thing in a previous post. Regardless, she talked me into trying it and wouldn’t you know it? I loved it. It’s the exact amount of coverage I wanted, and it doesn’t leave my skin feeling cakey or dehydrated or overly oily. Good job BareMinerals! I mined insta again for some examples of this one being worn:

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Can we talk about my Simpsons-character hair in pic 2? lmao

I like to apply this one with the best all-rounder daytime makeup brush I have – the Real Techniques buffing brush, but for a bit of extra coverage I like to “pat” it in with the RT sculpting brush which is what I did in the first picture (second picture is with the buffing brush and is a lighter coverage obviously).

This foundation is meant to be good for those of us who struggle with blemishes and other complexion issues. I can’t make any judgment one way or the other with that, I’ve only worn it a handful of times and I’m in a transition phase with skincare so it’s hard for me to tell what’s helping and what isn’t at the moment. Sorry!

This one is the most reasonably priced by far. You can pick it up from Sephora for $29 or Mecca in Australia for $38. Bargain!

I hope this was helpful! I will be posting about concealer tomorrow, do let me know if you have any questions or things you’d like me to specifically address in that post.

Love+++
F&V

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

This is going to be a bit of a mishmash!

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

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

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

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Different light – sorry! I tried!

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

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

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Before and after mineral makeup application

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

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

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Wow such dark so mystery

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

FullSizeRender(1)Love dis red

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

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

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

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

Love+++
F&V

Makeup Startup: Face Base-ics [Volume 1: Drugstore / Pharmacy brands]

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Anyway, onto the good stuff. I thought I’d go a bit more in-depth with a few things I only touched on in the first post. First up, let’s have a talk about face basics – primer and foundation.

First of all, do you really need primer? The short answer is no. You don’t need it, and a lot of pro makeup artists don’t believe in it. However, I think that’s because they are wizards and sorcerers who have sold their souls for flawless base application every single damn time, UGH! Ok not really but they have had a lot of training and/or practice to make their bases look flawless. I haven’t, and maybe you haven’t, so I like to use a primer. This is also because my pores can be seen from Saturn’s rings. And not just the outer rings or anything – the inner ones. Realtalk. And you know what? That’s fine. That’s how my face is. It’s no big deal. But it sure makes my makeup look a bit funky if I don’t put some heavy duty spakfilla on first.

The other thing about primer is that if you are someone who has oily skin, like me, primer is another layer between your skin and your foundation. Like you know how people are talking about getting that “summer glow” at the moment? My entire life is that, and it’s called being a sweaty oily mess. Anyway, primer to me is another layer that the oils in your skin have to fight through before they start messing with your foundation. Some would say that adding layer upon layer to your skin isn’t the best idea anyone’s ever had but for me, it works. For you, it might not work. If you aren’t going to use a primer that’s fine, but I would still really recommend using a moisturizer all the time – makeup or not. Foundation really shouldn’t go straight onto bare skin.

Anyway, as for WHICH primer to use, well, it depends on your needs. And I actually only have one drugstore primer. There’s no really good reason for this: I’ve had a few travel size higher end ones that have taken me a long time to get through and that means I haven’t had a lot of reasons to try drugstore ones. But the one that I have used, I freakin’ LOVE. It’s the NYX Pore Filler primer. Let’s talk about it.

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NYX Pore Filler primer

I love this stuff! If you’ve used the Benefit POREfessional, this is a fantastic dupe. In fact, IMO this one is actually better. It’s a little bit lighter, and a little bit less “gummy” and sticky, so I think it meshes a bit better than the POREfessional. It’s still quite thick though. Observe.

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You want to apply this with your fingertips, smoothing it across your skin. You don’t want to dab it onto your skin. If you think about how pores are shaped, you want to fill them in with this so you want to slide the product over them to create a flat surface. I hope that makes sense!

That’s the only drugstore primer I have, so let’s move on to foundations.

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My drugstore foundation collectionwhat?

So can we just talk about the BEAUTIFUL peonies my parents-in-law have growing in their front garden? The bush itself is covered in these huge, lush blooms and it’s just the best, they kindly let me take some last night after dinner. Love! Anyway.

I’m not going to talk about these in any particular order. The first one is the Bourjois 123Perfect CC cream that I mentioned in my last post.

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Bourjois 123Perfect CC Cream

It’s a great option if you want something that’s very easy to use but still has decent coverage. CC stands for color correcting, so it’s also great for people who have pigmentation or redness. It’s not too much, but not “just” a tinted moisturizer style coverage either. It’s a great option for everyday wear, particularly for beginners. The finish is matte-natural, but it’s not cakey. The tube labels it as luminous but it’s not really, you could make it luminous but in its original state it is more towards matte and can be made further matte with some setting powder. The tube is good too, it’s just a screw top tube with a pointed nozzle. This is about $25 from Priceline in Australia, or $20 from Amazon in the USA. I wear shade 32 (beige clair).

Next up is also from Bourjois, it’s the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation.

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Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

This was the first drugstore foundation I ever bought, and it was on the recommendation of Lisa Eldridge who is one of my favorite professional makeup artists. She has an amazing YouTube channel where she posts tutorials. Check it out here. Healthy Mix is fabulous because it has pretty darn good coverage but still manages to feel quite seamless on the skin. I consider it to be a matte finish, well, matte-ish, it’s not as matte as some but I would not call it particularly glowy though the description on the bottle is “healthy glow & flawless complexion, hydrated & luminous skin”. It’s another good everyday foundation if you want a bit more coverage but still a relatively natural finish. It for sure has more coverage and a less natural finish than the CC cream, but that is self explanatory – it’s a foundation after all. It has nice solid glass packaging with a pump and a sturdy lid. Not great for travel because it’s so heavy but the packaging is really nice for a drugstore foundation. It’s $20 from Amazon in the USA and $32 in Australia from Priceline. I wear shade 52 (vanille).

Next is the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte foundation. I am actually not sure if this is available yet in Australia so that’s something to keep in mind. It is relatively new here. The name intrigued and attracted me, you know me, I love my matte finish foundations because my t-zone can get so oily, and because matte finish usually means lots of coverage and that is also my jam.

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L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte foundation

I love the light, flat packaging, can we just talk about how great it is? No messy pump that can get clogged (I like pumps and all but doesn’t that piss you off? When the foundation dries and clumps in the nozzle?), no dipping your finger or a q-tip in the jar, no tipping out the foundation just a handy tube that is flat so it travels super well. Bravo, L’Oreal! Anyway, they are NOT kidding, this foundation is matte as HECK. I love it obviously. The coverage is medium-full. One thing I will say about this is that it sets fairly quickly so it pays to apply this in sections before it dries rather than dotting it on your face if that’s something you normally do. I sometimes powder just a tiny bit on my oily parts and might need to do this as the day goes on but if I can’t be bothered then I don’t. I apply all my foundations with a brush, this one I think really does well being applied with the Real Techniques sculpting brush. Don’t ask me why! It just does. This foundation is getting a lot of good reviews from beauty bloggers and youtubers and I totally get why. It’s super matte but manages not to be thick and cakey, which is remarkable especially for a drugstore foundation. In the USA you can get this one for around $11-15 from CVS, Walgreens, KMart or anywhere that sells L’Oreal. Hopefully it’ll turn up in Australia soon! In the meantime I believe you can pick it up on eBay or on Amazon. I wear shade 102 (shell beige).

[It’s worth noting that the matching powder foundation (which I use to set this foundation and others) is available in Australia, but not the liquid. Weird. There is the 24 Hour Infallible Stay Fresh foundation as well but I cannot confirm if these are the same or even similar foundations – would love to know though! At the moment L’Oreal (and Real Techniques!) are 3 for 2 at Priceline so you could pick up some other great things like the L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadows which are wonderful.]

Another great L’Oreal foundation though further to the other end of the scale in terms of finish, is the L’Oreal True Match foundation.

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L’Oreal True Match foundation

This one is a very cool foundation for someone with normal skin who is a little bit scared of foundation matching. It is hard, right?! Well you get quite a lot of wiggle room with this one. With a lot of foundations, particularly drugstore ones where the shade range might not be so great, you really have to get it as spot on as possible. Not with this lil baby, it has color blending technology that means that even if you don’t get it exactly right, it will match your skin fairly well. Not to say that this means you should just do whatever and pick up whichever shade you want – just that it won’t be a huge disaster if you don’t get the exact right shade or even if you don’t think they have a shade that suits you.

This one is definitely more of a natural-satin finish rather than a matte finish, so like I said I think it’d be perfect for normal / combo skin or even dry skin. For oily skin I think this needs quite a bit of powdering which isn’t always the best look, so perhaps skip this one if you are quite oily. The packaging is glass with a pump, so a little bit heavy and not ideal for travel. The coverage is medium. You can grab it in Australia for $30 at Priceline or in the USA at any drugstore that sells L’Oreal for about $10. Bargain! I wear shade N2 (vanille), but could probably go a shade darker.

I’ve saved my latest love for last. It’s so weird. I never buy or even look at CoverGirl. I think it seems cheap and boring. But a few bloggers that I love and follow religiously did reviews of the CoverGirl Outlast Stay Luminous foundation and they were, for lack of a better word, glowing. So I was like, screw it, it’s cheap, why not. EVEN THOUGH it’s a luminous finish and a medium (at best) coverage. I know. I’m a rebel and a risk-taker. And you know what? It frickin’ owns.

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CoverGirl Outlast Stay Luminous foundation

I love it! It’s really, really comfortable. That’s the best way I can think to describe it. It is definitely less coverage than what I’m used to, and also much less matte and more luminous. But for summer I think it’ll be really lovely and fresh without being sweaty. I heard that applying this with a patting motion with the RT sculpting brush was a good technique and I do agree, it seems to work well for this foundation. I usually give it a bit of a buff in at the end anyway, just to make sure everything is blended nicely.

I actually took some pictures of this one. For accuracy and honesty, I used the “bad side” of my face (lol), for some reason the left side of my face is more heavily scarred and has worse acne marks than the right side. It might be something to do with sleeping on the left side? I don’t always sleep on that side but majority I probably do. I don’t know! Anyway here is the before and after:

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Before & after application of CG Stay Luminous foundation

So you can see it’s not a heap of coverage, it’s not cakey and thick and it doesn’t completely mask the skin – your natural skin still comes through. It just hides the worst of the red acne marks (why do those stick around so long?!) and I’m into that! I don’t have anything else on but this. No powder or concealer, just the foundation.

Interestingly, in the USA MaxFactor and CoverGirl are basically the same thing. MaxFactor isn’t sold in the USA anymore, instead their products were merged into CoverGirl. Anyway, that’s just a weird tidbit. I can’t see that this CG foundation is available in Australia yet, but you can get it here in the USA for around $11 anywhere that sells CoverGirl. I wear shade 825 (buff beige).

I hope that helps! I am going to do a higher-end foundation post a bit later, I’m testing out some at the moment so I just want to make sure I give those a good go before I post that roundup.

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F&V