Lock It In: Primers

Hello to you all on the interweb! Hoping you had a wonderful Easter long weekend – did your weekend feel like it was only 2 days, like mine? I hope you had plenty of chocolate and enjoyed some makeup adventures like I did!

So, the wedding season is fast approaching for me, which means long days and blending until my arms are numb. This also means I need to seriously consider all my options to really set my makeup and lock it in. Just a heads up that this will be part of a series of blog posts (primers, powders and sprays) – get excited!

STAGE 1: PRIMER
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Take this advice seriously – if you want a polished finish, and want your makeup to have maximum staying power – use a good primer. There are a lot on the market that target specific skin concerns, so choose wisely.

Smashbox

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My go-to primer for regular use – Smashbox Photo Finish (RRP $58/Mecca Maxima). They have a great range – hydrating, pore minimising, blemish control, colour correcting and SPF. Get a sample and see which, if any, suits you. If it doesn’t work for you, fear not – there are plenty of other brands.

Hourglass

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This is a much raved-about primer, and is a much simpler choice than the Smashbox range. Hourglass have two primers – oil-free ($83/$115) and an oil-filled serum ($104) – it’s not actually called oil-filled, obviously! They both come in a travel size ($29/$35). I have a little sample bottle that has been useful on many occasions – it is my go-to primer when I have a serious party/event.

Urban Decay

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.31.01 am.pngI’m not a regular use of this primer, but that is related to allergies rather than the actual design of the product. This is an eyeshadow specific one – for a serious event, I will prime my face and then prime my eyes separately. I do think this is a really decent primer and for a while, I didn’t react to it, but sadly, now it’s out of my rotation. Easily sourced in Australia, available at Mecca ($33).

Soap & Glory

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I know it’s highly irritating to read about products that aren’t available in Aus – but for those curious as to what I’m using regularly on my eyes, this is the one. I love most things Soap & Glory, and this primer makes me happy. Being the hoarder I am, I buy this in bulk when in the UK (£8/Boots UK).

Face of Australia

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Although I don’t recommend this for party makeup, if you are new to the primer market and want to try something that isn’t going to cost you a lot, I think this stuff fits the bill. I recommend trying it out on a workday to just get a feel for it ($12.95/Priceline).

Laura Mercier

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I have to finish with my favourite. This stuff is THE SHIZ. The staff at the DJ’s Laura Mercier counter will ignore you and act all bothered that you wanted help – so just go it alone. Try all the different types – trust in me and all the YouTube bloggers that bang on about this stuff. There are a wide variety of formulas – radiance, oil-free, hydrating, bronzer, SPF and mineral. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between say, the hydrating and mineral – let me know if you have the answer. My choice in this range is the Radiance – I bloody love to glow ($50/David Jones).

Make Up For Ever released a range of primers for different skin concerns about 12 months ago and obviously I rushed out and bought it immediately. I had huge hopes but I didn’t feel they lived up to the hype. They don’t make my list of recommended products, but check them out if you are in Sephora sometime.

My final comment on the use of primers is that I don’t think it can truly replace a good moisturiser – so moisturise first, let that set and then slap on your primer. They claim to be a moisturiser replacement but that’s a no from me.

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

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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)!

Beauty Burn: Origins GinZing

I’ve mentioned it in some of my previous skincare posts, but today I’ll reveal the details of my love of moisturisers. Since I was a young child, my mother has been a passionate believer in moisturising – we were not allowed to do anything until we had some “cream” on our face. I grew up using Rosken’s Vitamin E Skin Repair, which was discontinued (or at least became very difficult to find) in my early adolescent years. It eventually made a comeback, but we had moved onto other products by then – plus, it was my adolescent years – where had all these other products been all my life?!

My habit and love for moisturising still continues to this day, and I actually cannot operate without some form of moisturiser on my face. I love the QV Face cream, I’ve mentioned my Kiehl’s love here, and… I’m suddenly having a total mind blank wondering what I used between my Rosken days, and well… today? Suddenly I can’t recall any details! So basically, what I’m trying to say, is that I come from a long line of moisturiser lovers (even if that line is only my Mum and I), so I am interested up to check out some new ones.

Fast forward to my Treat Yoself day in April, and I picked up the Origins GinZing moisturiser. Now, I’ve given away my verdict in the title, but play along. It has a really zesty scent, is packaged beautifully (I love the simple orange and white contrast), and I had a lot of hope in the Origins brand (since Lisa Eldridge recommends it!), so parted with my $44.

How sad. This was so disappointing! It smelt so fresh and awakening, but really didn’t do that for my skin. It wasn’t harsh or unkind to my skin, it just didn’t do anything special – and I expect something for that price. After some consistent use, I decided it was too citrus-y for my liking (which is surprising, as I love most things citrus), and although it felt nice on application, a minute later, I felt nothing – it felt like I hadn’t even applied anything! The feeling of tight skin drives me mad, and I will not stand for it!

I’m going to keep my eyes out for an Origins mask while I’m in the US (and will definitely insist upon a sample before parting with my money), and then will give my final verdict on the Origins brand (I’m a harsh critic).

Origins GinZing

Would I buy it again? Definitely not. I’ve relegated this to a once-a-week product, in the hope that maybe mixing it up in my skincare routine will give it a bit more oomph.
Who would I recommend this to? Citrus lovers! Or anybody looking for a very light moisturiser, particularly if they have very oily skin and don’t necessarily need lots of external hydration.
Is it value for money? Not in my opinion ($44).
How can you get it? I picked mine up from Mecca Maxima, and it’s also available from Kit Cosmetics.

Beauty Burn: Philosophy Hope in a Jar

Oh, what an exciting purchase this was! I picked this moisturiser up late last year when transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport, but it’s taken me a few months to get to this jar. I bought a travel pack, which included the ‘Purity’ cleanser, this moisturiser and a serum, ‘When Hope is Not Enough’. I busted out the cleanser immediately, and started using the serum soon after. I quite like Philosophy’s packaging and look – quite minimalist and neat.

Now, the serum was a bit disappointing – very tacky upon application, and a really unpleasant smell. But it didn’t seem to do any harm, so I’ve maintained using it once or twice a week, just for the sake of using it up. About 3 weeks ago, I finally decided to give ‘Hope in a Jar’ a workout. My initial thoughts were that the moisturiser had actually gone off – the texture was really strange, and the smell was really pungent. I hate to waste things, and this was brand new (and I’ve never had a product like this go bad so quickly), so I slapped it on my face anyway.

OH DEAR… THE BURNING. Not only does this stuff stink, but it also burns. And I’m not afraid of a burn – I love a good burn-y mask, a burn-y exfoliator, a deep glycolic peel burn. But this stuff just stings for the sake of stinging – it doesn’t seem to have any value or purpose in its burn. This is the kind of sting that brings tears to my eyes. Add to that, the smell… it just reeks. I love anything medicinal, anything fruity, anything floral, anything woody, anything scentless – so what the heck is this scent category? It just smells awful. And not only does it smell on application, but the smell lingers! I put this on one night and went to bed on freshly washed sheets – I could still smell the scent on my pillow the following night!

It’s a souffle texture and has a yellow-ish tinge – which is why I was convinced it was past its use-by date. A quick google tells me that it had not gone off, but in fact, that was it’s design. The smell, the sting and the texture were noted on a lot of reviews (including the Philosophy site itself, and Makeup Alley), so it’s definitely not just me. There were still a lot of positive reviews, so I guess there is a population for whom this works, but I’m not part of it.

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Would I buy it again? I’m not even sure what to do with the remaining product!
Who would I recommend this to? Not even my worst enemy.
Is it value for money? $20.00 (15mL), $45.00 (60mL). It’s definitely not overly expensive, but I think of it as quite worthless.
How can you get it? I have gotten Philosophy samples from Mecca Cosmetica and Adore Beauty (online), so you might come across a sample the same way. Otherwise, if for some odd reason you are attracted to a stinky, burning product, you can find Philosophy in David Jones, Adore Beauty, and Mecca Cosmetica/Maxima.

Line up, line up…

Eyeliner… I love you, and I hate you. When nobody of interest is going to see me on a particular day, you glide on with perfection. When everybody significant in my life is going to see me, you become a raging mess. Why do you do this to me? And why can’t I dump you?

As you can guess, I have a love-hate relationship with eyeliner. Someone recently asked me for some eyeliner recommendations (thanks for the inspiration, MA), so I thought I’d do a multi-product review, which seems to be my thang lately.

Image[Pot on the left is MAC Fluidline in ‘Dipdown’; Top to bottom: Face of Australia High Definition Liquid Eyeliner in ‘Brown’, Sephora Collection Nano Eyeliner in ’01 Midnight Black’, Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner Pen in ‘Black’ and Lancome’s Le Crayon Kohl in ‘Noir’]

Now, I use eyeliner basically on a daily basis, and I’ve tried a fair few different eyeliners over the years.. and these are my current favourites, and have been for the past 1-2 years.

MAC Fluidline
This is a gel eyeliner in the most traditional sense – you need a seperate brush to apply it, and it glides on wet, and dries quickly. I absolutely love the MAC Fluidline range, and highly recommend it, despite its high cost. It goes on smoothly, and can be tidied up quite easily before it dries. I find it stays put all day, but comes off without you needing to tear out all your eyelashes from scrubbing. I’ve just got a cheap Models Prefer Angled Eyeliner brush (see below) to apply this – it does the job just fine.

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RRP: $32.00 – Available at all MAC counters (Myer) and MAC stores. 

Face of Australia High Definition Liquid Eyeliner
This was a total surprise for me – I had really low expectations. I love to have a brown liquid in my collection at all times, and wear it more regularly than I wear black liner. I’ve been using this for about 4 months, and have been pleasantly surprised. I’m a diehard Face of Australia fan, which is why I trusted the brand, and was so pleased that it went on so easily, and stayed on for the whole day. It’s got a felt-tip applicator, which is perfect for me when I’m rushing to work.
RRP: $11.95 – Available at Priceline. 

Sephora Collection Nano Eyeliner
This was such an adorable and surprising find! I got this in a gift pack from a girlfriend last year who had travelled to Malaysia, and didn’t have big expectations for a Sephora branded mini-product. This doesn’t have the perfect staying power, but what I love about it is that it’s tiny and therefore does an awesome fine line against my lashes. It is a bit smudgey if it’s used for a thicker line, but for a thin line, it’s perfect. It’s beautifully soft, so goes on really nicely, but the softness is where the smudging comes from, in my opinion.
RRP: $5.00 (USD) – Exclusive to Sephora. 

Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner Pen
This eyeliner has been my long-time love, and started my love for liquid eyeliners. The tip on this thing is so fine, and gets the most accurate line every time. It has a calligraphy pen-style cartridge that you insert (and therefore replace), and a fibre hair tip. I think this thing needs a bit more Beauty Blogger love – it’s really hard to get in Australia, but easy everywhere else, so I’m surprised it doesn’t get a lot more love. I picked up my first pen in Hong Kong Duty-Free, and have picked up replacement pens and cartridges in Singapore, Dubai, London and Thailand (this isn’t my tale of travel, I just mean it’s quite easy to get for an Australian traveller – these are common destinations or transits).
RRP: $20.00 (USD) – All decent international department stores and Duty Free stores – just look for the Shu Uemura logo (very popular in Asia). 

Lancome Le Crayon Kohl
Finally, this is my most recommended out of the lot. It’s a staple kohl pencil, nothing fancy or complicated like the Shu Uemura or MAC Fluidline. You need a basic pencil sharpener to maintain this thing, and it can be bought easily. Lancome is stocked in Myer and David Jones, and some of the dodgiest and smallest of these chains that I’ve ventured into have managed to have a Lancome counter. It’s not as soft as the Sephora, but that gives it better wearing power – no smudging! It’s one of the only pencils I can easily apply to my extremely sensitive water line, and it softens up enough on application to make it comfortable. It’s expensive, but it’s also very long – so I think you get a lot for your buck, especially when comparing with a mid-range eyeliner that might come in between the $20 and $30 mark.
RRP: $45.00 – Available Myer & David Jones.

Which one would I buy again? The one I’m most tempted to restock for its uniqueness is the Shu Uemura – I love that it gets a super fine line. However, the one I actually couldn’t afford to not have is the Lancome – it’s just such a staple, and so versatile.
Is it value for money? You get a lot of product for your money. Myer is known for it’s 10% off all cosmetics nights/weekends, and Lancome makeup is always included – so you could at least save $4.50 off the RRP.
How can you get it? Myer & David Jones. All the other eyeliners I’ve listed their stockists above.
Which one do I recommend for something different? Hah, what a loaded question. If you’re an experienced eyeliner user, and want a change, try out the Fluidline. I’ve also heard good things about the Loreal gel eyeliner, so that may be worth a try.

 

Now, eyeliner is very important to makeup loving women – do any of my readers have any recommendations or eyeliner loves? If so, I’m always interested in expanding my collection – please comment below! 

What’s all the buzz about?

Burt’s Bees, I have really tried with you. I don’t think I’ve been gifted so much of one brand of skincare before, in addition to what I have bought myself. Yet, I cannot love you, nor can I even like you. The principles of this brand sound great on paper (or screen) – no animal testing, socially responsible recyclable packaging and all natural ingredients. Plus, the packaging is quite sweet! I love honey and honey-related items (although I’m terrified of bees, but that is a story for another day), so I had really high hopes for this brand.

I’ve been using their products for over 2 years, and have trialled a number of items – plain lip balm, tinted lip balm, body wash, body lotion, makeup wipes, hand cream, foot cream, cuticle cream and even the eye cream! I have not been impressed with any of these products, or even been able to enjoy using any of them. They are quite readily available in Australia – Priceline, Myer and David Jones all stock this brand, as well as large and small chemists.

Image The makeup wipes left me with stinging skin, so were relegated for use when doing a smokey eye and all that is required is a small clean up under the eye. The eye cream left me with almost sagging skin, I actually thought I saw the start of a fine line near my eyes, so immediately discontinued use after this, to see the problem go away. The cuticle cream had a lemon stench that even I, one of the greatest citrus lovers to have ever lived, couldn’t stand. The hand and foot creams are not worthy of a mention – but at least they didn’t cause a negative response. The body wash is one of the only products I liked, the smell was a gorgeous honey smell, but unfortunately it doesn’t stay on the skin, even when layered with the lotion. Finally, the lip balm was fine… just fine. But for $6.95, there are cheaper options on the market that do a better job (e.g. Lucas’ Papaw Ointment $4.95).

Would I buy it again? I’m not going to lie to you. The marketing is good and it’s in all my favourite stores – so if they came out with a new product that looked good and made grand promises, I’d give it a go. But if the product line remained static, I wouldn’t touch it, and would never replace any of my current products.
Who would I recommend this to? Nobody, unless someone actually had money that they would otherwise burn. In that case, I would recommend the body wash, just because it smells nice during use.
Is it value for money? The prices aren’t horrendous, but based on this review, do you think this question is necessary?
How can you get it? Don’t worry about it.

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