Brows maketh the face

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When I look back on my high school years, I think of all those hairs I tweezed out of my eyebrows that I’ll never see again. In my adolescent years (and very likely in your adolescent years, unless you are around 20) THIN & SHARP are the words that come to mind when we imagine the perfect brow. How far we have come in the past decade – over tweezing is out, patches be gone and the perfect brow is thick and neat. If I walk around my local shopping centre, I don’t think I see anybody under the age of 25 with thin brows. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing – like any trend, some people just take it TOO FAR.

Anastasia Beverly Hills can be credited with some of the biggest improvements in the brow game with her pencils and powders. If you want to improve your brow look, read on…

(Disclaimer: I haven’t talked about concealer or eyebrow brushes – consider this a beginners guide to eyebrows)

Pencil

perfect-brow-pencil

If you are new to getting your eyebrows on fleek, or want something low-fuss, this stuff is THE SH*T. Easy and quick to use, huge range of colours and completely natural finish. You can buy it direct from the Anastasia Beverly Hills site, or from Sephora Aus.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil
RRP: $26.00 (USD) / $42.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Powder

smashbox-powder

Anybody who watches Cammy on Snapchat [she’s an eyebrow queen from LA / find her @blossombeautylo] knows that the secret to a completely natural brow is the ombre finish at the start of the brow. For a long time I only used powder, but I find the ABH pencil is quicker and more precise than this powder. If you have unruly brows, the wax in this set is useful. Unfortunately, I think this powder is either on it’s way out or just isn’t worthy of being in Australia. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re overseas.

Smashbox Brow Tech
RRP: $26.00 (USD)
Stockists: www.sephora.com

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It is completely annoying to read recommendations of products not available in Australia, so I’ll include a product that you most definitely can find locally. Benefit has really upped their brow range this year and although I’m satisfied with my current tools, I think they are worth checking out if you are keen to find a decent product at your local department store. Powder and wax combo that has 6 shades.

Benefit Brow Zings
RRP: $55.00
Stockist: Myer 

Gel

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If you were not naturally blessed with a lot of hair in your brow, but have a decent shape and want to thicken up your look, use a gel to add some fake hair. This will help even up any patches or thinness and will blend in effortlessly. If you fear any of these other products or think drawing it on is too much, this is the stuff for you.

Benefit 3D Browtones
RRP: $42.00
Stockist: Myer 

Cream

pomade

I admit this stuff is the scariest of the lot – the almighty pomade. It’s not a product I personally want to use, but the severe nature of the pomade just doesn’t suit me and nor do I have the patience for it. Keep in mind, I am olive skinned and have naturally dark brows (no $$$ spent on eyebrow tints for me), so I’ve found the pomade finish is just a bit too much for me. If you have some serious bald patches or are seriously faking it when it comes to your brows (i.e. you don’t have much hair there), this stuff is for you. You will need a stiff angled brush for this as well as a spare 10 or so minutes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
RRP: $18.00 (USD) / $32.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Waxing, Tweezing and in between

My final warning to you is about what to do to care for your brows. You can have all the pomades and powders that Anastasia can think of, but they are useless to you if the base is hopeless. Only tweeze stray hairs, don’t even think about touching those long hairs your face has been growing for God knows how long! Find a decent brow technician, and find what suits you – tweezing, waxing or threading. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to a walk-in salon that does not specialise in brows – you will be butchered, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll never see those hairs return. You may be slaying in all other aspects, but rubbish brows will be your downfall. Go to someone who will see you as an ongoing client – save your walk-in waxing for arms and legs.

Remember, BROWS MAKETH YOUR FACE.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Winter Face

Leaves falling, scarves and coats on, snow coming down. Oh hold on, we are in Australia. Very minimal snow falling, and instead sunny days, cold nights and inconsistent weather conditions is probably a more accurate summary! With winter comes the dreaded ‘Winter Face’ – skin that needs some serious TLC. Fear not, for your beloved blogger will tell you some great stuff to slap on this winter!

FACE : DERMALOGICA SKIN SMOOTHING CREAM

skin smoothing cream

This stuff will save your skin over winter. All of Dermalogica’s moisturisers are great, but personally, this one gives me the right balance between moisture and oil control. It is gentle on the skin, smells good, and has great packaging (I hate any moisturiser that involves dipping one’s finger). Don’t let the price scare you – it’s worth the $$$.
rrp: $79.00 (look online, you’ll find it cheaper)

MASK : LUSH OATIFIX

oatifix-360x360

Your dry skin will love you for this mask. It’s made with mashed bananas, ground almonds and loads of oats (so it smells delicious). The oats will calm down any irritated or flaky skin while soothing any redness. Not great if you have oily or combination skin (luckily Lush has a huge range of masks to select from).
rrp: $13.95 

SERUM : CLARINS HYDRAQUENCH INTENSIVE SERUM

clarins hydraquench

It may seem small, but it is mighty. This serum is light and not oily like many serums can be. This is my go-to product after flying as it adds back moisture to dehydrated skin really quickly. If you do go to a Clarins counter, try to get a sample size of this. It is often included in Gift-with-purchase specials, so keep your eyes peeled. That will make the price much easier to swallow.
rrp: $72.00 

HANDS : THE BODY SHOP HEMP HAND PROTECTOR

hemp hand protector

Don’t those stickers on the image convince you? This hand cream is the shiz for dry skin. I think one of the driest areas I get in winter is on my hands, so this stuff is a saviour. The packaging could be better (I like to apply hand cream in the car, so the lid is annoying), but the stuff truly does the job.
rrp: $19.95 for 100mL

LIPS : BITE BEAUTY AGAVE MASK

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This lip mask seems a bit ridiculous – like seriously, a mask for the lips? Bite Beauty are known for their amazing lip products and this lip mask is no less than anything else they have produced. It can be near impossible to get your hands on it (Sephora stocks it) and it is expensive – so it you are feeling like a splurge or need serious lip care, this is it.
rrp: $38.00 

Alternatively, I think there is nothing wrong with good ol’ Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment. Cheap as chips (rrp ~$5.00), readily available and has it’s own little cult status, if you are that way inclined (I know I am!). lucas-paw-paw-ointment-25g-tube.jpg

And remember, if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

Until next time – enjoy the blasting wind and winter fashion!

7 ways to a Sunday Treat Yo’Self

Regular readers will know I’m all about the Sunday pamper and regular Facebook stalkers will know I’m a big fan of lists… so why not combine my love of both?

1. Have a bath

The perfect day for a long bath! Treat yo’self to a Lush bath bomb during the week, and chuck it in – you can thank me for this suggestion later.

2. Do a face mask

Go for an exfoliating mask, like The Sanctuary Warming Microbrasian Polish, or hydrate with the GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydration Mask. If it’s really overdue, go crazy and do an at-home facial. After a bath or shower, use an exfoliating scrub (Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is my choice for at-home facial standard) then put on a hydrating mask (Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque if you want a mask to sleep in; GlamGlow for a wash-off option).

3. Wash your brushes

Even though this is work, it truly is a treat yo’self. You will love yourself the next time you pick those brushes up and apply your makeup. If you aren’t sure how to clean your brushes, read here. I know the gold standard is to wash brushes after every use, but who honestly has time for that? Every Sunday is pretty good for casual makeup users, in my opinion.

4. Drink some tea

I know tea isn’t for everyone, but T2’s Gorgeous Geisha truly is – it is the perfect combination of calming and flavour – if you don’t like the bitterness of regular green tea or alternatively, love green tea – give this a go! I will usually brew a small pot to drink while I have a bath – makes me feel like I’m at a spa.

5. Sleep early

Those that know me will know that this is a “do as I say, not as I do” point. I’m hopeless with sleeping early on a Sunday, but when I do, I love myself for it. No better way to start the work week than feeling well rested.

6. Paint your nails

Life is too short to have plain nails – I am really anti acrylic nails and basically hate going to nail salons, which means an at-home manicure is the only way. If you are trying to save some money or just want to try out some of your polish collection, set aside some time for nail care. If you find yourself consistently doing this, invest in salon pieces – cuticle cutter, cuticle oil, nail files etc.

7. Look after yourself

I know these aren’t all beauty related but forgive me for suggesting life is more than just beauty! If you are anything like me, the week is totally hectic and jam-packed. Social commitments, work and fitness basically take up the entirety of the week – so take an hour out of the week to do something that may feel like it could be better spent doing something else. You will love yourself for it. Even if it means reading a book for an hour, listening to a podcast, watching something you usually don’t have time for, talking to a loved one on Skype – you will seriously set yourself up for a great week. And it’s not totally unrelated to beauty – whatever you feel on the inside exudes on the outside.

pamper night

Happy Sunday!

If irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Beat Yo’self 30

The 30th season has well and truly arrived, and it includes my own movement into the next decade. What better way to celebrate than to “beat my face” and also engage in “treat yo’self”! This post is going to be link heavy, but I don’t pretend to be someone who does tutorials, nor am I going to do a tutorial better than Lisa Eldridge or Wayne Goss – just go to the originals! So here are my go-to tutorials and tips if you want to give yourself a bit of extra oomph for a 30th (although this is not restricted to 30th’s only!).

CONTOUR

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How to Contour Like a Pro – Invisible

Wayne Goss is amazing, and this tutorial is #onpoint. I love the idea of contouring, but am so anti sharp lines and cake face (as I’ve said before, you are not a bakery!). I watched this video once, used Wayne’s techniques and was loving myself sick instantly. This is perfect for someone who wants to have dimension, but is acutely aware that most 30 year olds don’t want a drag look.

COLOUR

The beauty of the summer party season is that anything goes! I think the lighter the better, but if you’re into bold colours, that works as well. I’m really not into tanning, bronzers, sun kissed skin and so on, but colour is important! There is NO excuse to be pale at a party during summer! This does NOT mean you need a fake tan, it does not mean you need to wear a darker foundation – it just means you need to consider some dimension and glow. I love porcelain complexions and think it can be so ultrachic. If you are a MAC NC10-type (i.e. very fair) go for a Clinique Cheek Pop. They are so cute, perfect for Spring/Summer and completely useless for my complexion!

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The Summer Edit | ViviannaDoesMakeup

Vivianna is a gorgeous British blogger/Youtuber and has great tips if you want something subtle or are really concerned about looking clownish.

For those blessed with more tanned complexions or want something with a bit more pop, you will never go wrong with the NARS cult classics – Orgasm and Deep Throat – they have a summery shimmer without looking like you’ve massacred yourself in body glitter (those reading who are 30 will definitely recall the Body Glitter Craze of 2000). Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.38.11 pm.png

EYES

Those who know me well know how much I love colour on the eyes – but it’s tough during summer. Sydney summer’s can be hard work – humid one hour, 40 degrees the next hour, pouring rain the 3rd hour and then bizarrely cool 4 hours later. This is a lethal combination to anyone who is prone to oiliness – eyeshadow creases and panda eyes. I honestly don’t know if a particular product can help all of these rapid climate changes, so less colour is more when you aren’t confident re: the staying power. Feline eyes will never go out of fashion, so go for it. Make sure your eyeliner won’t budge (go for liquid or gel) and keep it simple and chic. One of the simplest yet best tutorials I’ve seen on a feline eye (and I promise you, I’ve watched loads!) is this one by Charlotte Tilbury.

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The Feline Flick |Charlotte Tilbury

LIPS

It’s summer and either you are 30, or you are about to enjoy the company of 30 year olds – you can do a bold lip! Red, orange red, pink, berry, purple – whatever you want!

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Easy Summertime Pink Makeup Tutorial

Honestly, look up any of Lisa’s lips tutorials – whatever look you go for, just make sure your cheeks balance it out – you do not want to look washed out! A good tip is if you are going for a bold lip, do them first so you can get a feel for how much colour is needed on your cheeks.

I’m told that the greatest joy of entering your 30’s is that you basically don’t give a hoot anymore about the things that really don’t matter. What a thrilling thought and I think it rings true for makeup as well! If you are 30, you have been wearing some form of makeup for more than half of your life – you got this! These are just some tips if you are hitting the party circuit, but do whatever it is that you want. Enjoy!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

The Teen Face

We all remember our awkward teen years, right? Bad eyeliner, poorly matched foundation and Lip Smackers… surely it wasn’t just me? The teen makeup market looks totally different from when I was in that phase, but I think a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Girls are going to be girls, but what do I actually recommend for those starting their makeup journey?

BASE
We all know teenagers don’t actually need foundation or significant coverage, but they just don’t listen! Acne can never be truly covered up, so no need to waste your time with a thick foundation. We all dream of an even skin tone however, so if we can’t win the battle, let’s help.

revlon bb cream

I keep bangin’ on about this stuff because it really is so good. Revlon Photoready BB Cream has SPF and pretty decent coverage – it really is a skin perfector, it will help accentuate and hide all the right things ($24.95).

EYES
Young lady, step away from the eyeliner. You do not need it. I know Taylor Swift looks amazing with her cat eye, but she is literally a star. You are not Tay Tay. Instead, go for an eyeshadow! I admit I have always loved eyeshadow, and wore it as a teen rather than eyeliner, but this habit has not changed for me.

FOA Nude Palette

One can never go wrong with a palette – but we are not talking about the Urban Decay Naked palette for a 14 year old. Face of Australia is such an underrated brand in my opinion. They have released 2 nude-ish palettes: Nude and Naked which retail for $18.95. A smokey eye is possible for a party or a brown shadow across the lash line for a softer eyeliner look.

LIPS
Ok, I know Lip Smackers aren’t really a thing anymore for anyone with MQ (Makeup Quotient). Go for a balm that is in a crayon form – easy to apply, has enough colour to add variety to your life and is much classier than a chapstick.

covergirl lip balm

Covergirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm is the right price and product. $12.95 from Priceline means it will go on sale, there will be no tears if it’s lost or stolen (remember how valuable makeup was at that age?), and it will add some moisture back to lips. If Covergirl isn’t your thing, there are loads of versions of these balms in every major brand in Priceline.

CHEEKS
Ok, this was something I didn’t really touch in high school, but nor was there such thing as Instagram or YouTube tutorials when I was in high school! Now, be warned that most people are committing crimes with bronzer – so try a blush instead.

savvy blush

Savvy by DB is perfect for those learning. I’ve made lots of errors with blush in my life and continue to make errors, but until you can own classic universal shades like NARS’ “Orgasm”, go for something cheap and easy. $4.99 from Priceline and there are 6 decent shades.

LASHES

Mascara was probably the most irresistible makeup item when I was a teenager. It made such a difference to my eyes and I just loved it. I find it really hard to wear on a daily basis as an adult (disclaimer is that my eyelashes are dark, so I don’t need the colour), but this may be because I wore it so religiously in my teen years.

essence mascara

Oh how I wish something like Essence existed when I was 14. A brand that is cheap and easy to find, has a huge range of products but isn’t intentionally trying to break you out (such as products that are found in a $2 shop). The range is cheap as chips, and when you’re a teenager, you really just want a bit of colour and some volume (or at least that’s all teenagers should want from mascara). This stuff is $5.75 from Priceline and can be chucked at the 3 month mascara life cut-off with no hesitation.

As for the rest: contouring, strobing, highlight, lip liner, liquid eyeliner etc… Well, you have to earn your stripes for that stuff. Plus, does a teenager’s weekly allowance really allow for that kind of makeup use? I can barely afford it as an adult!

If irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

 

Goodbye 2015 – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all – here’s to another year of beauty and blogging. I got a shameful summary of my 2015 blogging two days ago – it has motivated me to include ‘more blogging’ in my 2016 resolutions.

Now, I hate favourites posts – particularly the ‘monthly favourites’ which are common amongst YouTubers. I feel like I’ve expressed this thought before so I won’t go into it again – but basically, I don’t like it.

However, I do like end of year wrap-up posts, and thought I would share the things I honestly loved this year – I think a year is plenty of time to really love or hate a product. So, let’s get into my ‘Top 15 of 2015’- I will warn you now that I created these collages so you didn’t have to flick through a 15 picture post, but they aren’t great – forgive me!

Collage 1

Round 1: Basics

QV Moisturising Day Cream ($12.99)
This brand can do no wrong – so good for the skin, minimal nasties and this moisturiser has SPF 30.

Bioderma Sebum H20 Cleanser & Make Up Remover (100mL $20.99)
Not the cheapest water cleanser out there, but I love this one. I have been loving eyeliner wings in the later part of this year, and this stuff is a God-send for correcting inevitable errors. I use it to correct mistakes and when makeup goes horribly wrong, rather than as a whole-face cleanser.

Organic Coconut Oil ($5.99)
This stuff lasts forever, you can use it in your cooking as well as in your hair. It’s so cheap and easy to store – I forget about it sometimes, but when I need it, it’s always there. Oil of choice for my hair.

Lush Shower Scrub ‘Rub Rub Rub’ ($14.95)
I didn’t know how much I needed this until I finished the container! This stuff lasted me ages, smells nice (of course it does, it’s Lush!) and really does the job. I’ve never been crazy about scrubs before as I don’t feel they make a difference – but this stuff does. I use it as a dry scub with exfoliating gloves before a shower once a week.

Josie Maran Argan Oil (15mL $23.00)
Now, the only thing that bothers me about this is the price – but it’s truly worth it. I was getting some really dry skin under one eye this year (arghhhh is this what ageing is??) and this stuff always works a treat. 15mL is plenty if you use it sparingly – a tiny drop really goes a long way. I got this bottle as a sample in the US, so it enrages me that Mecca Cosmetica charges $23.00 for a sample item essentially.

Collage 2

Round 2: Colour

Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge ($US24.00)
This was a little number I picked up from Sephora in a 50 Shades of Grey pack – forgive me for that part, but this stuff is amazing! It is truly a long wear liquid lipstick, and although I find it very drying, it is perfect when you really want a lip colour to go the distance. I rarely use the provided gloss, but I’m not a gloss gal.

Bourjois Mega Liner ($24.00)
I’m not a wing expert, but this stuff helps me get success more than any of my other liquid pen liners. The angled tip helps, and the colour is long wearing.

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Sun Perfector – Champagne Pop ($60.00)
Errrr, is there any “2015 Top Product” lists that don’t include this stuff? This product was a cult item and people seemed to go nuts for it – including me. I sourced it from the US months ago, but it hit our sunny shores recently. If you are a fan of highlighter and are considering it – go for it. It’s not my ultimate highlighter, but it is very nice and I don’t want you to miss out.

NARS Velvet/Satin Lip Pencil ($39.00)
I kept my eyes peeled for a gift pack last Christmas, and I have no regrets. I’ve been a long-time lover of lip crayons (Chubby Stick, anyone?) – I just love how no-fuss they are. The NARS version has more pigment than the Clinique Chubby Stick, so it’s good when you want something more without the additional effort. There are some very bright and deep shades though, so I can’t say they can all be applied without a mirror!

Collage 3

Round 3: Just Awesome

These are a bit of a mish-mash of products, but I swear I’ve tried other versions of each of these things. These are the winners (said in the tone of Law & Order “these are their stories”).

Revlon Photoready BB Cream Skin Perfector ($24.95)
This is my summer time hero – when you want an even tone, without the thick coverage of foundation. I have been using this for ages and have tried others – this actually has decent coverage given it’s thin formula. There are plenty of other tinted creams on the market – but if it doesn’t provide coverage, why would I put it on my skin instead of a QV moisturiser?

Essie Good To Go Top Coat ($17.95)
I’m always surprised when my friends talk about other quick drying top coats – why would I get anything other than this? It has a great brush and is truly quick drying – you will not wake up with fabric imprint if you use this appropriately.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil ($US23.00)
Holler at me if you know where I can get this in Australia. She has loads of other eyebrow products available on the Aussie market, but I’ve yet to find this one. I know people love the Pomade (I can’t afford the 10 mins required for that stuff) and the Brow Wiz, but I love this pencil. It is soft without melting and can still provide a lot of definition.

Anastasia Contour Kit ($66.00)
I picked up the original kit last year in the US and love this stuff. I’m not big on contouring – I don’t chisel my face before going to work or to coffee, but I do love to have a play around with this stuff for bigger events. I’ve tried some of the other competitors but this stuff is the original and the best. If you want to learn about contouring, don’t waste your $$$ on the others.

Beauty Blender Pro Sponge ($27.00)
I’ve had the pink sponge and now the black sponge – black wins. I got mine on eBay and it is awesome. Get it. You won’t regret it.

vjosu mua

Now my final “Top 15” is my makeup inspo of 2015 – Vjosa Pakacu. I started following her on Instagram and there isn’t anyone who posts looks that motivate me any more than Vjosa. My original love will always be Lisa Eldridge, but they belong in different categories – Lisa does celebs, Vjosa does clients around NYC – a regular MUA, if you will. If you don’t follow her and like IG makeup inspo, go find her @vjosamua

And that’s a wrap! Welcome into the new year, and I hope it’s a great one!

And remember, if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

 

March into the Long Weekend…

Hello Easter Long Weekend – one of my favourite times of the year! It’s way less fussy than Christmas, the weather is starting to cool and people are generally quite relaxed and ready to enjoy some time off. Oh, and the shops are open and retailers are working hard for decent sales, so shopping on Easter weekend is a must for me. I’ll be part of the hoards of people at the shops on Saturday, and most likely Monday as well – if everyone is going to the shops, I’m going too!

So, this weekend, I’m giving you my favourite products from March. I’m not really into ‘monthly favourites’ (because I think they are usually garbage – unless you literally change all your products every month, how do these reviewers decide that a product is decent or not within a 4 week period?), but I wanted to mention a few products I’ve had for a few months, that I decided within the month of March were worth a rave. If you are a nutter like me and planning to hit the shops for a browse this weekend, check them out!

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First up is the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre cream shadow. Now, this dodgy photo does not do this product justice, so I do apologise! This stuff is long-wear and absolutely divine. It comes with its own little brush, which I haven’t used – have I mentioned how I love to hoard things and keep them perfect and new forever? This is a stand-alone product – you really don’t need to layer it with any other shadows or colours, it has so much dimension and depth to it. I’m a complete lover of eyeshadow and colour, so it’s a big deal for me to think something should be worn on its own! I have Shade 83 Illusoire which is a purple-grey shade and has a really beautiful shimmer in it. I picked this up at Macy’s in Hawaii, but it can be sourced here in Australia at David Jones – RRP $48.00. A total splurge but honestly worth it!

20150403_114938Next up is the Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip pencil. This came in some 50 Shades of Grey gift pack (Sephora, Hawaii), but don’t let that turn you off. This pencil is divine – I’m rarely impressed by an expensive lip pencil, but this is worth the $$$. I have Shade 3C, which is a great nude shade for my skin tone. The quality of this pencil, and the fact that it is truly waterproof makes it worth the hunt. This brand and line of product should be available at Sephora Australia (Sydney). RRP is a bit unclear, but it’s listed at $28.00 on Strawberrynet.

20150403_115158Ooooooh, Real Techniques – you have renewed my teenage love of Priceline tools. Since hitting my adult years, I’ve been a loyal lover of MAC brushes but Real Techniques are worth the hype! This dodgy picture is the Contour Brush, which is part of the Flawless Core Collection – which means it has to be purchased within a pack. Don’t let that worry you – the Core Collection is excellent and includes my number #1 brush of the moment – the Buffing brush! If you are lovin’ contouring like most of the devoted makeup population currently is, you will love this brush. The collection of brushes have an RRP of $44.99 and can be found in Priceline – like all good Priceline products, wait for a sale of some sort!

20150403_115051To nobody’s surprise, my final pick is a bright lip stain! This was one of the first Revlon balms I ever purchased, and I was bitterly disappointed – I hate glitter finishes (shimmer being completely different, obviously) and this balm has some sort of glittery shine to it – ugh. It turns out that I don’t mind it in the cooler weather – there is something about this that makes it suited for the Autumn months – go figure. This is Shade 115 Whimsical – I paired it with the Rimmel lip liner ‘Indian Pink’ and it was perfect for a long day at work. It’s RRP is $17.95 but read above for my thoughts on Priceline prices.

Anyways, wishing you all a lovely Easter weekend! I’d love to know if there’s anything you’ve discovered recently that you rate – maybe I will become one of those bloggers who reviews new products every 4 weeks?!

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

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!

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…