Travel Ready: Skin 

Regular readers will be overwhelmed by my increase in post frequency – how many posts do I have to do to officially state that I’m making a comeback?!

Anyways, jokes aside, I’m excited to post more than once in 6 months! 2017 is turning out to be a year of travel for me, so another travel post seems fitting. Prior to my last post, I was prepping for Nepal, and now I have another country in sight – #blessed. Unfortunately, overseas travel results in dehydrated skin and break outs for me, so I’ve learned over time to shamelessly take a range of skincare abroad with me.

Moisture

Flying dries out skin big time, so commit to something that will give you serious rehydration. Drinking water is obviously key, but you can further aid that with a serum. The Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum is great for this – if you are a regular Clarins user, you may be able to get a sample of this for a trip, or get a mini-version in a gift pack. I don’t necessarily use this all year round, but it is great for when you are travelling. I apply this day and night soon after a flight.

Sun Protection

Invisible ZincI admit, I don’t wear sun protection on my face all year round, but on days where I will be outside a lot and during summer, I try to use a face cream with SPF. When I’m on holidays, I’m out and about a lot more than usual, so need some serious protection. QV Moisturising Face cream is SPF 30+, and is light enough to wear after a hydrating serum, and under makeup. If I am going to be in serious sun, I use Invisible Zinc (SPF 50+) and avoid applying any face makeup. QV is great for something less intense –  it’s non-irritating, and you won’t need any additional moisturiser on top.

Break Outs

Unfortunately, my skin breaks out quickly and easily. For this reason, I really can’t afford to leave my overnight spot treatment at home.
I’ve recently converted to the Dermalogica Special Clearing Booster (prior to this I was using the Overnight Clearing Gel). This stuff is great if you can feel something coming, or if something does pop up and you need it to be gone asap. It’s small, and can fit into your clear carry-on liquids bag.

The Final Layer 

Anybody who is yet to use the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (BFB) is missing out, big time! This is a cult product and has never needed a sponsored ad in it’s lifetime. Think of this as a moisturiser, a clear BB cream and an instant face lift. I use this on top of a moisturiser; I think of it as almost like a protective film – perfect when the air quality is compromised, and you have pores to think about. It tightens and brightens, and gives you a youthful glow – great if you are trying to avoid wearing too much makeup while on holiday. This stuff needs to be carefully applied – avoid rubbing it in as much as a moisturiser; it really does sit on the skin.

Pamper 

Now, am I even me, if I don’t suggest a mini-pamper? You’re away from home, away from the usual demands of life, so treat your skin with some TLC. A sheet mask takes up minimal space, and can help your skin when it’s been ravaged by a pressurised air cabin as well as changes in food, water and air quality. Pack one per 7 days that you are away (i.e. if you are away 2 weeks, pack 2), and no doubt, you will find some time to use this – you can thank me then for the suggestion. Sheet masks take up a lot less space than a tub face mask, and I personally find them more intense than a liquid/clay mask.

Skincare while travelling seems so indulgent, but it’s easy to do, and the pay off is worth it. Travel size bottles/jars make it light and small enough to fit into your on-board luggage, so there is really no excuse. Don’t return home looking like you were living in a hut without running water (unless of course, that is exactly where you were living)!

And as always, 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…

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…

So you want to start a brush collection? (Eyes)

Makeup brushes, one of my greatest beauty loves! I have to start the post with thanking my colleague for the inspiration. We were caught in the rain leaving work the other day, and she asked me in passing if there were any MAC brushes I recommended… Errr, makeup brush recommendations in the rain? This is a conversation that needs to be had in drier conditions, because it’s definitely not a quick discussion. Now, she asked about MAC brushes, so it makes sense to naturally start there, and work our way through – this will be part of a series of posts about brushes. Obviously the prices of the brushes I mention today will make most people scream, but fear not, I will eventually get to some more budget options.

My love of brushes started way before my makeup collection grew. It was before the time of YouTube tutorials and #beautybloggers, so I’m not sure where the interest came from – I just had this strong feeling that brushes would be a really key component of my love of makeup. I got my first MAC brush set for my 18th birthday from my brothers – one was travelling overseas quite close to my birthday, so that was my request. 10 years later, I can tell you I still have all the brushes, and use 4 out of the 5 – truly an investment that paid off. They were a little disappointing in that they shed more hair than I expected, but Mr. Google told me that was because they were part of the Special Edition (SE) range, and were of an inferior quality to the full-sized (and therefore full-priced) MAC brushes. I’ve never purchased another SE brush set, and instead saved my pennies for the regular product instead, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable – minimal hair shed, and noticeably softer hair. Anyways, that’s enough about how and why I love brushes.

Today, I’m going to detail 3 excellent eyeshadow brushes that I really rate, and think are worth the investment. They are ridiculous in their  cost, so if you have a friend or family member off to the US, MAC brushes are the thing to request – light and easy to bring back, extremely easy for someone to find for you, and essentially half the price of the Australian pricing.

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MAC 217 Blending Brush
This is literally my Holy Grail in eyeshadow brushes. There is really nothing else like it on the market. I’ve even tried to find other MAC brushes that might come quite close (286 Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush for those hardcore fans out there), and it didn’t come close. Anybody who loves (or requires, in some people’s cases) a smokey eye, this is the brush for you. If you only buy ONE brush from MAC in your lifetime – make it this one. The difference this makes to any heavy eye look cannot be compared to any other brush in a kit – it softens and really polishes off the look. I personally don’t use it a lot to apply colour (I use the 286 for that), and instead try to keep it as naked as possible, so that it can really do its best blending work with no residual colour present. It’s essentially a fluffy white brush that softens up any harsh lines or over application of shadow, but does this in the most magical way possible.
RRP: $37.00

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MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
Now this is one of the brushes that came in my beloved Special Edition collection all those years ago. It has been used with much love and enthusiasm, so much so that the top of the brush came away from the handle of the brush! Thankfully the brush hairs weren’t effected, and it can still be used – the full-sized one is on my list from the US this year. Now this is your standard eye shadow packer. I have two brushes in this same style – short, but firm and tightly packed hairs. None of this sweeping movement that you get from the 239, but just pure packing on of colour. The hairs are quite thick, so what I like to do is use one side for light shades, and one side for dark shades. Lately my go-to eyeshadow combo has been the Bourjois Cream to Powder shadow as the base, and the Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bad Bronze – so one very light shade, and one very dark shade, but both creamy, so needing lots of packing. One side gets used for the light Bourjois shadow, one side gets used for the darker Bad Bronze shadow – no colour transfer. This has been an everyday work look, so ain’t nobody got time to spot clean a shadow brush!
I don’t think that MAC are the only uses to do such a style of brush – I have a Lancome version that is very similar, but it definitely doesn’t have the firm packing ability that this brush has. I’ve always used this for very dark shades on the outer eyelid, and anytime I’ve used any sort of cream shadow (MAC Paint Pots, for example). So, keep your eyes peeled for a similar brush – keywords being short, thick and firm hairs. If you can’t find it anywhere, go for the MAC one.
RRP: $48.00

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219 Pencil Brush
Now, my final brush is just a little favourite of mine – it’s definitely a non-essential, but this also depends on how serious you are about eyeshadow. My favourite feature is definitely my eyes, and I enjoy trying out some different looks, and spending some time on my eye makeup. So, for someone like myself, I think this is worth it. For someone who doesn’t own a single brush, then this is definitely not necessary, and not something I recommend early on. This is another firm-hair brush – but angled like a pencil, as the name suggests. I generally use this on my inner corner, or when I’m doing a really heavy smokey eye, and want to go back towards the inner corner with some lighter shades. It’s precision is amazing – holds product beautifully, and really gets into those smaller spots. I don’t often apply eyeshadow under my bottom lash line, but if I ever do feel compelled, this is the brush for it. I’ve tried the 215 Medium Shader brush for the bottom lash line as well, but that is just too firmly packed for my liking. I have extremely sensitive eyes, so the 219 Pencil Brush has just the right amount of packing to reduce product fall, but still soft enough to use on the more sensitive parts of my eye. I haven’t even investigated any dupes from another other brands, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if there any worthy companions. To be honest, this was a USA request from a friend a few years ago, which is why I frivolously got the MAC version without looking for any cheaper options. Let me know if you’ve seen anything like it.
RRP: $45.00

All MAC products are available at MAC stores and counters (located within Myer) across Australia. They also have an online store which has free shipping for >$100.00 order (and often have >$50.00 free shipping specials).

Thanks for reading the first part of my brush collection series. I did forewarn you that the prices may make you extremely angry, but I feel minimal guilt with MAC brushes. They should last you easily over 10 years, you will start using them every time you want to apply eyeshadow, and you’ll be shocked at what a difference they can make to your final look.

Until next time, readers…

*Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a professional makeup artist – just a simple lover of products. I am merely giving my thoughts and opinions on makeup brushes for the average citizen, as a fellow average citizen.

(All photos in this post courtesy of Google Images)

Farewell Summer…

… Hello Autumn! Autumn has to be my favourite season of the year – the colours, the fashion, the weather – all divine. Spring is gorgeous, but I get hay fever, which impacts my ability to enjoy Spring, so Autumn wins by default. This summer, I am well and truly over the heat. I travelled to the US in June 2013, which gave me some bonus heat, and then to the Middle East in October, which taught me what heat truly is – so I’m ready for the cold weather to set in. Obviously I’m in Australia, so it’s not exactly an extremely cold, snowy winter in store, but it’s a nice change from the heat.

autumn1_final

So, in preparation for the arrival of Autumn, I’m maximising my summer nail polish, and will embrace autumn shades as soon as possible. This week, I’m wearing OPI’s ‘Charged Up Cherry’ which is fluro-toned pink polish. It’s definitely not for everybody, and it polarises people in my life. Either people love it, or absolutely hate it; I’m in the middle about it. It’s the first time I’ve put it on this summer, it’s just a bit too fluro for me to love enough for regular use.

Autumn colours, on the other hand, are impossible not to love! I really need to reshuffle my nail polish storage to make autumn shades easier to access. I was gifted a purple shade of polish last week for my birthday, which I’m very excited to try out. I’ve also busted out my OPI ‘Malaga Wine’ (I actually couldn’t resist, I have it on my toes already), and will continue my hunt for the perfect nude shade. I’m interested in a more grey-toned nude this season, as well as adding the perfect black to my collection.

Autumn and winter fashion is starting to enter the stores, which is making the current heat quite unbearable. Is it too much to ask for the weather to be a balmy 15 degrees on the 1st of March, with a bit of a sharp, cold breeze? I have scarves and jackets to wear!

No recommendations in this blog post, consider it my ode to Autumn.

autumn-leaves-close-up-17072(Image courtesy of Google Images – I just want you to feel as inspired for Autumn as I currently feel)