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:

IMG_7106

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

FullSizeRender

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

FullSizeRender_4

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

FullSizeRender_3

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:

Untitled

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!):

FullSizeRender IMG_6891

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

FullSizeRender_2

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

FullSizeRender_1

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

FullSizeRender_4

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

FullSizeRender_1

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

FullSizeRender_3

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+++

Advertisements

Moving to the USA: Haul #1 (of many)

I made it! I’m here with my husband it is awesome. Stressful times but all worth it to be here.

I thought I’d post a quick haul post. My friends Sara and Nate entertained me all day on my layover in LA so we went to South Coast Plaza, a fancy mall with lots of high end brands including Jo Malone which is why I went there!

IMG_6880

The salesman at Jo Malone was phenomenal and so helpful, and not pushy. I bought a large bottle of my beloved Wood Sage & Sea Salt (think a deserted, windswept beach with a driftwood fire in the distance) perfume, and he gave me tonnes of samples as well as a sample of the matching body lotion which I may buy, because holy CRAP my skin is dry as HECK right now and I only have a little bottle of Soap & Glory’s Body Butter. So far I’ve given the Blackberry and Bay sample a sniff and it’s gorgeous. That one might be my next purchase but that won’t be for awhile.

We then went to look for a passport holder for me, though I’ve decided what I’ll do is buy myself a really pretty one when I become a citizen in 3 years because I’ll have two passports! So it’s kinda lucky I didn’t find one. I did however find the Urban Decay Ammo palette which was hard to get in Australia so I grabbed that, it was $25 what a bargain!

IMG_6877

Plastic is a bit scuffed. Came with an eye primer! Wiew

Excited to try this out, the colours are amazing and I think I can show it a hell of a good time.

So when I got to Boston and was reunited with my beloved husbo, we went to Sephora. It was awesome! I wanted a hairdryer and some shampoo and conditioner and the guy who helped us actually wasn’t that helpful. He tried to talk me into a sulfate free shampoo which I don’t normally like, but I bought small deluxe samples of it anyway and wow surprise surprise I used it this morning and I hate it. My scalp is flaking like crazy and my hair is horribly dry even after drying naturally and not applying any heat. I didn’t take any pictures, but it’s this one: Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Ageing Replenishing Shampoo. So that’s not pictured because I’m taking it back and will probably try out a Bumble & Bumble one, as that’s a brand I trust, or the Living Proof range is tempting as well. I don’t know. My hair just needs to get through this stage of still having the yucky ends from being bleached. Anyway, instead of the $200 hairdryer the guy wanted me to get, I ended up going online and buying another Parlux exactly like my last one. So the rest of the haul was the Kat Von D liquid lipstick in “Outlaw”, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm which is apparently amazing for winter-dry lips which I am definitely suffering from, and I think that’s it! When I got to Ray’s home town we went to CVS to buy lots of things like cotton pads, qtips, nail polish remover, razors and all that normal stuff then we wandered down to the Sephora inside JCPenney. It was pretty comprehensive really, only a few niche lines missing (Sunday Riley, unfortunately, as well as L’Occitane which sucked because I really want to buy a large container of the Almond Shower Oil. It’s so good! I have found my skin to be SUPER dry since I got here and this stuff is definitely helping. Anyway, I grabbed some of the UD Setting Spray in Oil Control and they gave me a sample of the Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin enzyme mask which I’m super keen on trying… anyway here’s the haul:

IMG_6876

No biggie!

I also unwrapped my Sigma package! Look at these beauties! I’m so excited to try these brushes and review them for you guys.

IMG_6875

The little baby one on the left is a travel size shadow brush gift :3

I’m ESPECIALLY excited about the flat topped kabuki brush for applying foundation! Can’t wait to tell you guys about them.

So at the moment things are a bit crazy because we’re not living in a place where I can organise all my products and have them in front of me. As such I probably won’t be wearing a lot of makeup for awhile because it’s just overwhelming, lol. Anyway, that’s my haul! I’ll probably pop into Sephora again today to grab some more shampoo samples or whatever. Ok bye!

Love+++

Beauty: January Favourites!

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

KEVIN.MURPHY Young.Again Immortelle Infused Treatment Oil

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

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

FullSizeRender

Shiny purple bottle of goodness!

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

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

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

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

Cons: Expensive. Smallish bottle for the price.

You can get it from Adore Beauty for $49.95.

Malin + Goetz Acne Treatment

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

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

FullSizeRender_2

MAGICAL POTION ??????

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grab it at Mecca Cosmetica for $29.

REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid

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

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

But THIS. Oh my word, this:

FullSizeRender_1

Hello, beautiful.

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

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

Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder

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

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

FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRender_4

Bonus roof reflection. You’re welcome!

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

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

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

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

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

Love+++