40% off, you say?

You must be living under a social media-free rock if you haven’t heard about the Priceline cosmetics sale this week. Check out #pricelinehaul, #priceline #bbloggersau and you will see lots of Priceline love! I’ve become a big fan of the 40% off cosmetics sales, and since the RRP is pretty controlled for cosmetics, I think you generally do get a good deal (unlike their perfume sales). They always market it as a 2-day sale, and it is usually on Tuesday/Wednesday, so requires some careful planning for those that work Mon-Fri, 9-5. Luckily, Priceline is incredibly accessible and can quite often be visited during a lunch break.

So, we’ve got one more day of the sale, and here are my little raves and rants about what I think you should check out (sale goes until 11.59pm online, and until COB in store).

Bourjois – I am a huge fan of this entire brand, and it hardly goes on sale compared with the other Priceline brands. The 40% off sale is the best time to check out this stand – this sale is about stocking up as well as trying something new! I recommend trying a foundation or a blush from this brand (foundations come down to around the $20 mark, and blush is $12.00 on sale). Plus, this stand seems to get very little love at this huge sale, so you’ll get some peace and quiet here. I picked up the Felt Tip Liner for $14 yesterday, but haven’t tried it yet, so can’t recommend it.

L’Oreal - I’m not a huge L’Oreal user, but again, this is the time to try something new. I really rate the False Lash Telescopic mascara which comes down to $16.17 on sale. They had some other gorgeous stuff that I was interested in yesterday, but their stock levels were really low. If anyone is after a nude lipstick and has an olive skin tone, check out the Colour Riche Lipstick by Freida Pinto. I found the tester and fell in love, but no unopened stock unfortunately.

Revlon - Do not be tricked into the Lip Butter at this sale! It is really easy to pick up a Butter for $10, so 40% off at $13 is not a steal. Everyone is loving the Gel Envy range, but I found it chipped really quickly – this may be the fault of my application technique, so I’m just leaving this at the moment. It can also be picked up for some good deals lately, so not a major temptation for me. I really like the Photoready BB Cream Skin Perfecter ($14.97 on sale), but only recommended for those who want light coverage and a dewy finish!

Rimmel - I’m a massive Rimmel lover, but this brand goes on sale a lot, so I always found the attention it gets at these sales very surprising. You can pick up Rimmel at 40% off so often, so don’t waste your time here unless you are restocking! But if you insist on buying something this week, the Salon Pro nail polishes are great, and the Apocolips range has expanded to some matte finish products, so these may be worth checking out (all testers gone at my local Pricey!).

Essie – This is where you should make some serious savings! These don’t go on sale at a 40% drop very often, they are almost always neglected at these sales (as a lot of people don’t realise nail polish is included in cosmetics), and they are well worth the attention. Regular readers will know I love Essie polish, so no surprise I picked up some things yesterday. I really recommend trying out the Good to Go topcoat – perfect for late night nail polish appliers like myself ($10.77 on sale).

Australis - I know it’s almost cliché to mention this product, but it’s my duty to make sure it’s included for anyone who may not know about it! The AC On Tour kit is a powder contour kit that you can pick up for $10.17 at this sale. It’s not exactly Anastasia Beverly Hills, but it’s pretty bloody good for $10! Even if you don’t love it, you will enjoy playing around with it, and for makeup lovers like myself, it’s an exciting little purchase to take home, because nothing else in Priceline is quite like it. The stock at my local Priceline was crazy, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting your hands on it like people did last year.

Anyways, those are just some of my recommendations, I’d love to know what everyone else picked up, so please comment and share below! My love for makeup is like a disease, so let me know if you recommend anything I should check out today (I have until 11.59pm!).

PL Collage

Paint the Town Pink (with Lipstick!)

I’m a Simpsons fan, so the title today is a really obscure reference to a line from it – props for those who get it!

So, summer here in Sydney is saying goodbye, but before it goes and Autumn and berry shades set in, I’m trying to embrace shades of pink. Clearly from my heading photo, you can see I’m a pink fan, and regular readers will have noticed I’m always raving about pink nail shades. So here are some of my tips and recommendations for wearing a bold, pink lip…

Rimmel Pencil Collage

Firstly, you need a lip liner – bold lips need some boundaries, and the lip liner will give you this. My go-to pink liner is Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses in Indian Pink [$8.50 at Priceline]. It’s a fairly universal pink liner, and works for the range of products and types of shades I’m going to cover below. I can’t say if it lasts 1000 kisses as I haven’t tested this claim!

Chi Chi Collage

Matte: Chi Chi ‘Bimbo’ [$18.95 Myer]
This is a killer matte shade, for a decent price. The packaging is divine (sorry I forgot to take a photo with the lid on, but it is really pretty) and the lipstick is really pigmented. It layers onto the Rimmel liner perfectly, but unfortunately doesn’t have great staying power – like all bold lips, it will need heavy monitoring while wearing it.

Revlon Lip Stain CollageStain: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable in ‘Sweetheart Valentine’ [$17.95 Priceline]
This is easily one of my most wearable bold pinks – you get great colour payoff and a decent wear time with this. It is a stain, but if you blot it with a tissue after application, you will really make sure it sinks in. A liner isn’t necessary with this, but I like to pair it anyway, just for longevity. I’ve managed to keep this on for a whole day at work which involves a lot of talking as well as eating lunch.

Revlon Lip Butter CollageLight: Revlon Lip Butter in ‘Lollipop’ [$21.95 Priceline]
This isn’t my favourite for a bold pink, but is a great way of trialling pink without committing to a strong lip for a whole event. This will get eaten up/fade, but that is just the nature of Lip Butters. You do get a nice pigment from it, it just doesn’t wear for very long. Out of all the products in this post, this is the only one I would dare to try putting on without a mirror – the texture of lip butter means you can touch up lightly and it will spread over your lips fairly well.

MAC Lip Collage

MAC: Retro Matte in ‘All Fired Up’ [$36.00 MAC/Myer]
There can’t be a lip post without a MAC inclusion! So it gets it’s own category – this particular MAC shade is part of the Retro Matte collection, and is a new product to my pink collection. I haven’t worn it much, so can’t vouch for its wear time, but as a MAC product, I can trust it will be excellent quality and bloody gorgeous.

YSL Lip CollageGloss: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in ‘Pink in Devotion’ [$55.00 Myer/David Jones]
This is a complete luxe inclusion, and makes the cut just because of the beautiful packaging. Don’t get me wrong, it is a gorgeous colour, and feels really lovely on, but it’s not particularly long wearing or even that bold. I’ve included it as a gloss because it really functions as one – it wears as long as a gloss typically does, and has the same level of pigment – the upside is that it is not sticky at all! It’s really expensive, so it also doubles up in the ‘Treat Yoself’ category.

Final Tips
When wearing a bold pink lip, it’s important to keep your eyes pretty basic – I personally go for a basic gold shade, and try to keep it light (often with brown eyeliner or a thin black liner). A pinkish blusher is a nice match-up, but I recommend applying it after lips, so you have an idea of how much colour you need for your face. Finally, keep it really flawless for your base – be meticulous with concealer, and blend blend blend (you are not a bakery – no cake allowed)!

If you need some further inspiration, check out my favourite YouTuber Lisa Eldridge’s Easy Summertime Pink Makeup tutorial – she has some great tips, and looks stunning (as always!).

Let me know how you feel about pink and if you’re willing to give it a try! And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use (though a colour can’t irritate your skin)!

Sunday Night Pamper (February ’15)

Oh, it’s been too long since I did a pamper post! Alas, a monthly pamper post looks unlikely, so I withdraw that fake promise. You will have to trust me – when I find something good, I’ll tell you about it!

So my pamper of late has changed a little bit. This year my New Year’s Resolution included trying to get more sleep… completely do-able I think. I have no kids, and a stable job which I manage during daylight hours – so what’s my excuse? The challenge for me is putting down the device, ending the conversation or turning off the TV. I’m a compulsive over-talker, an Instagram addict, and I regularly turn the TV on really late at night and can’t resist Everybody Loves Raymond repeats. So, come 2015, I am trying to be a bit stricter on myself – the conversation will never be over, Everybody Loves Raymond will be on again tomorrow and there will always be more #fotd tags to look at on IG.

So, this month my pamper involved some changes to help myself feel more refreshed. Some changes to exercise, some regular reading and a farewell to summer!

February

As a February baby, I got a nice little haul of birthday gifts this month, and the FitBit Flex was part of it (thanks MO!). I’ve been a hardcore gym-goer for a number of years now, but the past 12 months I’ve been struggling – suddenly I’m so bored of it, so this year I’m trying to motivate myself to just get out and about. I’ve had it for 2 weeks, and already hate taking a step without it – unrecorded steps are a total waste! It’s helped motivate me to walk to my brother’s place nearby, take my nephew to the park and arrange walks with friends – perfect when the mornings are as gorgeous as they currently are! My best friend is a new mum and has become a champion walker, so it’s a great way to see her and baby Z too.

Books continue to be a part of my monthly pamper – my book club continues to select some great books which I take ages to start and then involve me rushing to finish in time. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd was a great choice; I love anything based in the Deep South of the US, and highly recommend it to anyone who is intrigued by that region and the slavery period. Warning for this book is that it is intensely sad – no silver linings in a novel can be a bit tough.

Summer has now officially ended (we welcomed Autumn here in Sydney with a 38 degree day!), so I’m trying to bust out a few bright colours before I return to my berry and grey/black shades. Essie’s ‘Watermelon’ is my go-to pink shade, so I’ve been sporting it for the past few days to bid summer adieu. I replenished my Essie’s ‘Good to Go’ topcoat, so can go back to painting my nails just before bed and not wake up with a fabric imprint. Late night nail painting is a bad habit of mine, but a fast-drying top coat means I can still get to bed at a decent hour!

Finally, the Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright Fade to Bright Intense Brightening Treatment is a product I’m currently trialling, to see if it lives up to the hype. I’ve been using it on and off since last year, but for the past 2 weeks have used it nightly to see if there is any change. Unfortunately, none for me at this stage. 2 weeks on one person is hardly an intensive research study, but I haven’t been fussed by the results. The tube is small (30mL), so I thought it would be a concentrated and intensive treatment, but it hasn’t really proved to be the case. I personally won’t be repurchasing this, and don’t really recommend it.

be enlightened

Finally, I’m burning a Be Enlightened candle, which I am loving. I was introduced to this brand through a contact of mine, and I am mad for these candles. I’m burning the Oriental Baies, which is a blend of currants, berries and pear, combined with rose, jasmine and precious woods (err, that description is from the website, I’m not that knowledgeable about scents!).

So, that’s it for me – February was filled with the above things for me, plus very disciplined sleep times. I have been going to bed at a decent hour and have woken up feeling more refreshed – I haven’t slept in once this month! Feel free to share in the comments if you have any New Year’s Resolutions – I love to hear what others are trying to change or improve!

Until next time readers, treat yourself to a pamper night!

Beauty Cults: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

A beauty cult product… these are always tricky to review, because they tend to be hideously overpriced and sometimes difficult to source. This palette is the former, but not the latter. Easy to find, crazy price that makes you wonder.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette - HN

This stuff is bloody gorgeous however, and well worth the hype. Powder that looks and feels like velvet, and actually stays on! Now, the palette includes three shades: Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light. As the owner of brown skin, my two shades of choice are Dim Light and Incandescent Light (the middle and furthest right shades in the above picture). The lightest shade, Radiant Light is just a bit too light for my skin tone, and I feel it doesn’t really show up.

Unfortunately, it comes with no brush (not even a cheap brush!), so I’ve paired it with the Make Up For Ever Double-ended Sculpting Brush – 158, which is the most divine brush I’ve ever owned – incredibly soft, multipurpose, no loss of hair and washes perfectly. I use the contoured side of the brush for bronzer/contouring powder, and then use the large fluffy side of the brush for the Ambient Lighting Palette. The brush is also hideously priced, but worth the $$$ for makeup lovers. MUFE Double Brush

The Ambient Lighting Palette is a great all-rounder highlighting powder, and understandably a beauty holy grail product! If you’re not into highlighting (I actually wasn’t until I picked up this palette), find a cheap but decent highlighter from a drugstore brand, and try it out. It’s quite amazing to see such a light powder which has so little colour give so much depth and dimension to a finished look. Once you get it right, it’s really hard to go back from using it!

[I recommend the Milani highlighters for the American readers or Revlon for any Australian readers who want to try out a reasonably priced highlighter before embarking on a big purchase like the Ambient Lighting Palette. I personally like powder highlighters more than liquid ones, but feel free to try your hand at whichever one to find what you like.]

Would I buy it again? For sure, but hopefully I won’t need another one for a looooong time. As you can see from the photo above, even with fairly regular use, I haven’t made a dent in the powders!
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who is a passionate user of highlighters.
Is it value for money? It’s pricey, but you do get three shades in it – there’s definitely more hideously priced, less useful products on the market. At least this one you can use daily!
How can you get it? Mecca Cosmetica – $76.00 [it’s called the Ambient Powder Wardrobe on their website]

As always… if irritation occurs, discontinue use.

Wedding Emergency Action Plan

Two posts in one week – shocking! Once you’ve recovered from the double post, you can fall over again when you read the title. But do not fear – I am not having an emergency wedding! But my cousin is getting married! It’s not an emergency wedding, but a wedding that I’ve only decided this week to attend… did I mention the wedding is in London?

Wedding Emergency Action Plan has kicked into gear – flights were booked yesterday (I leave in 2 days), outfits were selected over the weekend (I hate everything I own), and jewellery was coordinated overnight (I was less than impressed with my options). My WhatsApp has been going crazy with messages back and forth with my cousins, as well as with the bride. I’ll be staying at the brides’ mum’s place, because I want to be in the thick of the action. I’ve decided to forgo professional hair styling and makeup in lieu of my own skills, but it does mean I have to plan wisely – makeup can weigh a lot! My mum will be going with me, so we are both getting things organised for the next day or so.

After some discussion with a cousin regarding my makeup and skincare routine to prep for this wedding, she commented that my mum and I seemed to have a “Wedding Emergency Action Plan” – once given the sign, we started implementing it immediately. I figured it would make for a good blog post!

Wedding Emergency

So my beauty wedding emergency action plan actually started over the weekend – I had quite orange ends in my hair, from all the sun and usual wear & tear that occurs on blonde tones. I called in the Fudge Clean Blonde Toning Shampoo - this stuff works a treat. It’s not the easiest stuff to use; it requires gloves and time, but it definitely does the job. Work up a lather in your hair, then let in sit for up to 5 minutes – it’s the sitting part that is tough for me. I really recommend gloves, and if you do it in the shower like me, try to wash away any splash back immediately. Along with the shampoo, I use the Moroccan Oil Hydrating Mask - regular readers will know I really rate this product. This just involves a bit more time; this one needs to sit for up to 10 minutes. So really, once you use these two together, you need a solid block of extra time with your regular hair washing.

Next is all the pre-skincare work I need. My skin already feels terrible post-Hawaii, so I really need to brighten it up in a few days. Adding in another flight (25 hours, at that) which will deliver me to London 24 hours before the wedding isn’t exactly ideal for beautiful skin. So I’m planning to do the stuff that I’ve only ever read about – inflight skincare. The plan at this stage is to do the SK-II Facial Mask either Wednesday night or Thursday morning – I knew I hoarded the mask for 11 months for a reason. I am expecting pretty spectacular results, but I need to maintain them during the flight. I’ve got my Caudalie Beauty Elixir ready to spray inflight (suddenly travel size seems like a wise purchase) as well as another great mask to apply – the Glam Glow! My plan at this stage is to use the Yes to Cucumbers wipes to keep myself feeling fresh, use the spray as a toner, and then once I’m on the second leg of the journey from Abu Dhabi, to slap on the Glam Glow mask and go to sleep. I’ve hoarded some Glam Glow sachets from Sephora, so it will be easy to take on board. I’m due to arrive in London at midday on Friday, and need to hit the ground running.

So, wish me luck! It’s my first family wedding in 8 years, so I’d really appreciate not looking old and weathered, hence my sudden commitment to inflight skincare. Let’s hope that no irritation occurs…

Best of 2014

Happy new year, readers! Hope you have all been enjoying some sort of break, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. I personally don’t celebrate (though I do enjoy it, possibly due to my love of shiny things), so I headed to Hawaii for a beach break. Regular readers will know that I love the USA, and need little encouragement to visit. The Australian dollar isn’t quite as strong as it has been in the past, but Hawaii did not fail me with it’s offerings. I was flying for NYE, which suited me just fine, because I’m a bit of a NYE grinch.

So as 2015 rolls in, I think it’s customary for bloggers to post their 2014 favourites… right? I drafted this very easily, so turns out I had some very clear favourites in 2014. I selected one clear standout product in each category of Skincare, Eyes, Face, Lips, Hair & Nails.

Best of 2014

Skincare Clarins HydraQuench Cream
This stuff is so gorgeous and was a late-2014 discovery. I picked up a Christmas gift set that included this cream, the matching serum and a third item I haven’t even taken out of the bag yet. This cream is extremely hydrating, sinks into the skin beautifully and feels amazing. My only gripe is the packaging – I hate jars you have to dip your fingers into, as it doesn’t seem that hygienic plus I find I use a lot more product. Clarins does great skincare and is really easy to find in department stores and salons. This cream retails at $65.00 [Myer]. Not the cheapest product, but it’s worth the $$$.

Eyes Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadow
I did a whole blog post on this, so it’s probably not a big surprise to regular readers that it’s a favourite. This stuff is fiddly to use, definitely not an item for everyday and is crazy expensive – but I haven’t seen much else on the market that does the same job. Retails for $44.00 [Mecca Cosmetica].

Face Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
2014 saw me increase my highlighter use as part of my everyday routine. Now I’m addicted to using it to add some colour to my face without adding blush. It really adds dimension to my face, and helps fake a healthy glow. I had read a lot about this highlighting palette before picking it up in the US, and after first use I realised why it was the holy grail for so many beauty bloggers. The powder is like velvet, and the tiniest bit goes a long way. Face palettes can sometimes be rubbish, because they try to cater for too many skin tones, but this palette seems universal. Retails for $76.00 [Mecca Cosmetica].

Lips Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner
Finally something that does not cost a bomb! I’ve been a long time lover of Rimmel as a brand, but this was my first year of buying the Exaggerate lip liner – which is their automatic wind up pencil. I generally don’t like automatic pencils because I feel they never have a decent point and the wind up mechanism can die before the pencil runs out – but Rimmel does not fail. I picked up the nude shade (the shade name escapes me now) and it quickly became everyday wear. I can’t think of any other product that I used to completion in 2014, but this little number got used up. Not much thinking or risk involved for a product that retails at $12.50 [Priceline].

Hair Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask
This is another product that made it from a single blog post to the favourites list. When I used it on its own, I liked it, but didn’t love it. Recently I used it in conjunction with a toning shampoo (I’ve become addicted to blonde ombre in 2014 also), and the results were magnificent. Anyone who has ever used a toning shampoo will know that their hair will turn to straw immediately. I used this straight after using the Fudge Purple Shampoo, and not only did my blonde ends look better but my hair felt better than before! Retails for $49.50 [Skincare Store].

Nails Essie Good To Go Topcoat
This may be boring to some, but anyone who loves painting their nails like me will know there is nothing worse than painting your nails and then managing to bump the paint an hour later. This topcoat is fast drying without chipping easily like some other fast-drying polishes do. Extremely shiny, and maintains a manicure for 5-7 days; retails for $17.95 [Priceline].

So that’s it for me! Thank you for those who have been reading along in 2014 – I really appreciate you reading my beauty raves and rants, and look forward to sharing more in 2015.

And remember – if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

Welcome to Rancho Relaxo (Monday Night Pamper)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a pamper session – I do apologise! I actually haven’t had a lot of inspiration lately, but this month I was inspired to not only have a pamper session but to take it to another level – visit a skin spa.

BBRL-FrontAll my readers who are my real-life friends will know this is my regular beauty spot. All forms of hair removal, hair maintenance and skin repair happens in this place for me. I’ve been a long-term client of this place, and have seen it grow and change over the years. There are multiple therapists available, however my regular appointments tend to be with Rachael-Lee herself. She’s seen me through my early 20’s problem-free skin, my adult acne days and I guess what is now my (early stages of) ageing skin (although that’s not something I want to admit!). It had been quite a while since I’ve had a facial here (about 12 months), so I figured it was about time I treated myself.

I’m a passionate small-business supporter, so avoid going to large chain spas or laser clinics for any of my treatments. I mean, check out these little details at Beauty By Rachael-Lee (the link will take you to their Facebook page).

BBRL - Bed

 

BBRL - Products Close Up

I ended up having a Multivitamin Facial, which was amaaaaazing. There is nothing quite like a proper facial – I can do my own little pamper sessions throughout the month, but nothing beats a deep exfoliating and cleansing facial. I always need a little bit of extraction, and I forgot how painful this can be! Luckily, I only needed a few extractions (I’ve had some very intense extraction sessions with Rachael-Lee in the past), and I can see the value in this step – for me, it makes a really dramatic difference in my skin health and appearance.

BBRL - Room

I don’t always care for the relaxing waterfall-style music that is played on endless repeat in day spas, but luckily Rachael-Lee sometimes gives me the option of more upbeat music (if we’re the only people in at the time). This time, I went with the already-playing cover music (one of my favourite genres – if it is one). The massage and products were all amazing, and I left feeling very relaxed and ready for bed. I always book my facials in the evenings (or late afternoons) and make no plans afterwards – I want to maintain my zen state, keep the products on my face overnight and wake up feeling refreshed.

Obviously I live in a small part of the world, and not everybody can get out to this lovely place. Therefore my tips for judging a facial treatment and spa quality are as follows:

  • No sales – you should not feel pressured to buy something after the facial. There should be no feeling of sales tactics during the facial either.
  • A decent temperature – if the spa can’t maintain a reasonable temperature during your facial, it’s going to be a struggle to enjoy it.
  • Respect for your privacy – once I went for a facial at a random spa and the therapist told me to get completely undressed, left me with a hand-sized towel to cover my body, and re-entered the room without knocking, and I was definitely not ready. For the record, Rachael-Lee offered me a robe, will knock before attempting to re-enter the room, and really just wants straps off your shoulders – I don’t remove any clothing.
  • You should know what they are doing, but keep it to bare minimum details. This may just be my personal style, but I like to know what step the therapist is up to, what she is applying and that is about it. I don’t even think this much detail is necessary, but as a skincare lover, I’m always interested to know what the beautiful product is that is being rubbed on. Any more details and I really start to over-think it.
  • The therapist should actually advise you on what you should be getting for your skin needs and skin type. I had a glycolic peel many years ago from a random therapist and afterwards was advised by my regular therapist (incidentally it was Rachael-Lee back in her hey-day of being someone’s employee) that the procedure was completely unsuitable for my skin type at the time. You should never get a specific treatment just because it’s the most expensive.

ONE WEEK ON….

My skin is looking and feeling amazing. I had a few raised inflammations (very tiny) for the following two days, but these settled easily. Unfortunately I am not one to really go without makeup, even though I know it would be quite helpful following a facial, but my skin never seems to get irritated with makeup application after treatments. I think it’s worth keeping your skin as makeup-free for as long as you can after your facial. I try to avoid any exfoliation for about 5 days, which was a little trick I picked up on after having a series of microdermabrasian treatments. It’s a particular recommendation following microderm, to avoid exfoliating. I feel like giving my skin 4-5 days after any facial before using an exfoliant works wonders – my skin is really glowing post scrub!

If for some reason you’ve never tried a professional facial, or are unsure where to start – dive in. Make a gentle decision for your first one, something with deep cleansing and scrubbing but maybe nothing more invasive than that. It is the ultimate pamper and a great way to treat yourself.

Beauty by Rachael-Lee is located on the corner of Stafford Street and Colless Street, South Penrith. In case there’s any confusion, this is most definitely not a sponsored post, I really am just that big of a fan! [Treatment was $AUD80 and went for 1 hour]

And remember – if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

Shine bright like a diamond

My disclaimer for this post is that I’m about to rave about a ludicrously priced product that is quite hard to source. I apologise in advance, but it was too stunning to exclude from this blog!

I picked up the Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow with some difficulty during my time in the US. This stuff seemed to be sold out wherever I went, or I would only find one lonely shade. I’d tested out the shadow in Mecca Cosmetica a few months before, and was stunned at the coverage and quality, and how easy it was to use. I was determined to get the gold shade for greatest impact and maximum use (as I regularly wear gold and brown shades). For $US32.00, I wanted this shade [Metallic Gilded Gold], and no other [RRP $AUD44.00].

Stila-Pack

So as you can see, the eye shadow comes in a serious little bundle. It comes with a primer and a mixing plate, and a dropper to use with the primer. I’m slightly obsessive with keeping things new, so after using it, I cleaned it all up and took the dropper out – but if I was going to use this regularly, I could store it with just the dropper in the bottle.

Stila-Open

The texture of this reminds me of a paste; I wouldn’t say it’s a cream, as it’s not as smooth or fine as a cream shadow. I’ve paired this randomly with a concealer brush, but an alternative brush would be the MAC 239.

Stila-Mixing

So it’s a simple procedure – drop the primer into the pan, add the shadow, mix and apply. Upon application, it feels like any cream shadow, but once it sets, it actually feels like what I would imagine eyelash glue would feel like if it was applied to the entire eyelid – not uncomfortable, but noticeable. You’ve got a little bit of time to move it around before it sets – again, just like eyelash glue. Unlike cream shadows, it doesn’t rub into the skin, so it can be physically moved around the lid, rather than blended in.

The pigmentation from this stuff is insane – it’s really strong and deep, and really makes an impact. Unfortunately, I only took a dodgy photo of me wearing this with my phone (and with the front camera at that! Amateur!), so no great selfie to share at this stage. You’ll have to take my word for it (or obviously refer to some other beauty blogs) – this stuff is gorgeous!

Stila - On Hand

It really is like tiny bits of foil – who knows how this stuff is made?! My only issue with it is that it’s not really a buildable shadow – this is the main performer. I paired it with an extremely dark shadow (Naked 3: Blackheart) and packed this on top. I personally wouldn’t spend the time packing and blending millions of shades underneath this, as you will probably not see any of it.

Would I buy it again? Sure, it’s very unique. Shame about the hideous price.
Who would I recommend it to? I think my sisters from the Indian Subcontinent will love this shadow – it suits the style of makeup we can pull off at a traditional event.
Is it value for money? I’m not sure what to say on this – I’ve made my thoughts very clear on the price. I suggest not thinking about the price and just buying it if it seems like your thing.
How can you get it? Mecca Cosmetica in Australia and Sephora internationally.  

And remember… if irritation occurs, discontinue use.

Summertime Sadness

Just kidding about the heading – no sadness about summer. But as summer is fast approaching here in Australia, it’s time to get serious about summer skincare. I have combination-oily skin, and am fearful of the sun’s rays touching my skin. Here are my summertime essentials:

Summertime Sadness

QV Face Moisturising Day Cream
I’ve been using this moisturiser daily for a year, and am still loving it. I’ve mentioned my respect for QV before, and this moisturiser has become a bit of a HG face product. It has SPF included, and is light and non-greasy, so perfect for summer. [RRP $11.99 – Find it at Chemist Warehouse]

Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray (SPF 50)
Now, I’m not much of a beach person, but I tend to make an annual pilgrimage there, and do my best to shelter from the rays. I picked this little beauty up last summer, and have replenished my stock for this coming summer (side note – it lasts ages, I disposed of mine during my US trip to make room for more exciting products!). It’s non-greasy on the skin, and leaves no residue when sprayed on your body – it does leave a sticky residue in your hair though, as though you’ve sprayed on too much hairspray. I actually use this on a regular basis when gardening, and I love it. [RRP $12.95 – Find it at your local supermarket]

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil
This little beauty was a sample from a Clarins counter in Myer. This oil has lasted ages, and I think will be a worthy addition to my summer collection, particularly as hair removal routines return to normal and my body demands more moisture. It claims to be suitable for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy, but if it doesn’t do that, it still smells and feels amazing. [RRP $62.00 – Find it at Myer]

Glam Glow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment
This was a US purchase that I am using very sparingly – the price is ridiculous. I made sure I sampled the hell out of this mask (unlike most other products in Sephora, it was like getting blood from stone at times to sample this), and found it to be extremely hydrating. It smells delicious (I sensed hints of coconut, one of my favourite scents), and can be worn as a short-term mask, or overnight. It takes a few uses to really notice the difference, but once I wore it around 4 times, my skin was feeling a lot softer and hydrated. [RRP $75.00 – FInd it at Mecca Cosmetica]

Bumble & Bumble Defrizz
Now, I’ve been heat styling my hair since the 9th grade. I still remember the first hair straightener I bought, it had a double function as a crimper – it was a great era to grow up in. Ever since then, I’ve been fighting the battle with fly aways and frizz, and have tried a range of products, both high and low price points. Nothing frustrates me more than spending time on my hair, and then heading out into the heat and having it frizz out. Bumble & Bumble have an amazing range of hair products, and I’ve yet to try anything that didn’t do as the bottle indicated (although my exposure to the brand doesn’t extend to every product), and this little bottle of serum-y goodness doesn’t fail to deliver on its promise. Only a tiny bit of product is required, blow dry it in and see the results almost instantly. I also find that it seems to extend my blowdry/straightening session for an extra day – score! [RRP $38.00 – Find it at Mecca Cosmetica].

Rimmel Salon Pro Polish
Finally, summer isn’t summer unless I have some garish bright nail polish slapped onto my tips. The little coral number in the photo has yet to get a chance on my hands, but it’s not too far away. Great range of shades for a low-price polish, and I find the Salon Pro colour range quite interesting – not huge, but every shade is quite unique. [RRP $8.95 – Find it at Priceline].

So that’s me in the lead up to summer – I’m sure many products will be added, but I’m expecting these to remain. Stay safe in the sun and heat, and don’t forget your hat!

Is it worth the hype? [Naked 3 Palette]

The long-awaited and much-discussed Urban Decay Naked Palette 3… was it worth the wait? Was it going to be a let down like Naked 2? Will they ever be able to repeat the success of the original Naked palette?

In terms of the last question, if you measure success on the quality and initiative of the first palette, then no, I don’t think that can ever be repeated. If you base it on pure sales, I think Urban Decay will constantly get huge sales from their Naked products, simply because of the beauty cult and hype that surrounds it. It most definitely is not a let down like the Naked 2 was for me. Naked 2 was far too silver-toned for me (my most hated eyeshadow shade is silver), so Naked 2 didn’t get much interest or use by me. Naked 3 was promoted as a rose gold toned palette, and it really does fit that description.

Naked 3In typical Naked fashion, the palette comes with a brush, which I have clearly not used. I’ve used the brush from the original Naked palette which is excellent quality, so I expect this to be the same. There are 12 shades that are the size equivalent of a full-sized eyeshadow. As expected, the shadows are excellent quality – highly pigmented and easy to work with – applying and blending. My top 3 shades have to be:
Blackheart  – a really dark, smokey shade (it’s the last shade in the palette). It has a shimmer through it, and blends beautifully. It really doesn’t compare with anything from previous Naked palettes.
Liar – a shimmery brown-mauve shade, that highlights beautifully with Blackheart, and is really quite a different shade.
Buzz – now this seems to sum up the entirety of the Naked 3 palette – a classic rose-gold shade. I don’t find this as wearable as some of the other shades, but it is quite unique to this palette.

Eyes

 

 

Here’s me looking at you (while wearing Naked 3)…

 

 

Would I buy it again? I can’t see myself needing it again anytime soon, due to my severe addiction to palettes. But yes, I would want this to be in a my makeup collection permanently.
Who would I recommend it to? Palette lovers, and neutrals lovers.
Is it value for money? $US54 is a bargain for 12 full shadows!
How can you get it? Aussie buyers can source this on Beauty Bay for $82.10. If you know anyone travelling to the US, it’s worth requesting! Don’t bother waiting for Sephora Australia, as they have informed us recently that Urban Decay won’t be stocked here. Boo hiss.