Skin skin skin

I’ll try not to keep going on about my posting frequency… but thanks to all the ladies who have commented in the past couple of weeks about my blog. One of my main motivations for blogging is from the conversations I have – I figure if one person is asking, at least ten other people are interested – so may as well write about it! So hello to all my readers, old and new…

It’s currently winter in Australia, so moisture is much-needed. Windy days, combined with cool mornings means we have to work a bit harder for our skin. I know a lot of people try to improve their skincare at this time too, so I’ve had a few people asking me about what they should be including and what order.

Five components, all take next to no time and give great results. The word “dry” in French is “sec” and it’s going to be important in your routine.

Cleanse – Tone – Sec

Cleanse
Avoid anything soap-like, anything that foams or anything that doesn’t really move your makeup. A good cleanser should get the majority of your makeup off; all of it if you are wearing a minimal amount. If you have party makeup on, use a proper eye makeup remover and do a double cleanse.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Precleanse Oil
Starter pick: Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleansing

Tone
This is where I save money and just buy something that won’t irritate my skin. I’ll be honest and admit I’m not totally convinced as to the necessity of this step, so I include it, but at the lowest cost possible. Generally, this step for me just helps calm any redness and tighten up my pores.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
Starter pick: La Roche Posay Physiological Soothing Lotion

Now we move into Sec territory – Serum, Eye Cream and Cream (Moisturiser). Follow this order and kiss dryness goodbye.

Serum
I love a serum and think they are worth spending a bit more on – so save your dollars on a toner and invest in a decent serum. The difference between drugstore and department store serums are significant, so I apologise in advance for the high price point in the items I’ve included in my picks below. Use enough to cover your face, and try to use a patting motion, rather than massaging it into your skin.

Luxe pick: SK II Facial Treatment Essence
Starter pick: Clarins Face Treatment Oil

Eye cream
Eyes show one’s age, so a seperate eye cream can reduce your thoughts on cosmetic procedures. Apply gently with your ring finger, both below your eye and on your eyelid. Eye cream packaging is always tiny, but it will stretch a long way.

Luxe pick: Clarins Eye Contour Gel
Starter pick: Clinique all about eyes

Cream (Moisturiser)
Get the best that you can afford – and never, ever skip this step. Whether you wear a lot of makeup, or none at all, moisturiser is a must. You may want one with SPF, you may want to apply your SPF separately – do some research to see what suits you and your needs.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
Starter pick: QV Moisturising Day Cream

Initially it will just feel great, but when you put in some serious time, you’ll see some results in your skin. Best case scenario, do this once a day, preferably at night. Worst case scenario, spend some time once or twice a week following all of these steps. Spend some time trialling some products – don’t be afraid to ask for samples. You’re often looking at an item that is >$50 – you should at least be able to make sure it doesn’t give you a reaction prior to your investment. Good luck with your winter skincare!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use...

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Your at-home nail saviour

I feel like a bit of a Jerry Seinfeld when I say this… but have you ever noticed how crazy nails have gotten? I know I have mentioned this before, but it doesn’t appear to be a trend set aside for beauty guru’s such as Dress Your Face and it doesn’t appear to be dying? My breaking point was watching the server at a local cafe attempt to type in my order on a touch screen and then watch her prepare my coffee – I do not want that bacteria hell hole near something I am about to consume, kthx.

crazy nails

I think these nails continue to gain followers simply because you can’t escape them – walk into any nail salon and it is assumed you are there for acrylic claws with Shellac. In fact, I went into a nail salon for a polish on my natural nails and took a polish colour with me and they looked at me like I had walked in and asked them to paint my body in the polish. So, the only way to escape them is either by being very firm about what you want or by having an understanding nail artist (as I know some of my friends do have). Otherwise, you’re on your own – which is JUST FINE. It involves a tiny bit of investment and planning initially – but once you’re set, you’ll be loving life.

So, let me help you work out your at-home nail salon.

Cuticle Softener

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This makes a huge difference and I have no doubt this is much higher quality product than anything used in a walk-in nail salon. This stuff really makes you feel like you are in a salon and will make the cuticle push-back/removal process much easier.
$15.99 Priceline

Cuticle trimmer

cuticle trimmers .png
They seem like a pricey investment, but they really are worth the investment to amp up your at-home salon.
$30.59 at Priceline

Cuticle stick

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Cheap as chips and you can find these anywhere – supermarket, $2 store, pharmacy, etc.
$2.99 Priceline

File

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It’s up to you whether you want to invest in a metal file or a nail board like this one. I like to use either, but like the idea of this kind of nail board which can be disposed of eventually. Again, cheap as chips.
Sally Hansen $2.95 at Priceline

Nail Oil

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This stuff may seem unnecessary, but remember, we are creating a salon experience here! In fact, by adding this to your regime, you are creating a better experience! This oil will last you forever – I have the same bottle from over 5 years ago! You should see an improvement in nail health by applying this to your nails after filing.
$15.99 Priceline

Quick drying nail polish

good to go.png

Regular readers know I love all things Essie and this stuff is the shiz. Essie ‘Good to Go’ quick drying top coat will make you very happy. If you’re anything like me, the time you get to do your nails is close to bedtime which means you are at high risk of a fabric imprint! This stuff dries so quickly, so you can go to sleep and apply it in the morning or better yet, apply it about 10 mins before bedtime and sleep easy.
$17.95 Priceline

So, as you can see, you can create a salon at home with affordable items from Priceline. The beautiful thing about Priceline is that it will all go on sale at some point – so you can slowly add to your collection as items are marked down. You can resist the salon experience and have gorgeous nails – think of all the money and time saved!

And if irritation occurs… discontinue use. 

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… 

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… 

 

Resist the bejewelled nail

Has anybody noticed what has happened with fingernails? Not so long ago, people were blogging about gradient nails and galaxy nails, and now suddenly nails are like a battle to the death.

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For the record, I am a huge @dressyourface fan – her makeup is on point, her business is #goals and she comes across as quite a beautiful person (as far as one can tell on Instagram!). She is ultra-glam, so her nails make perfect sense – but checkout assistant at Woolworths? This seems a bit aggressive for you.

I admit I am a nail traditionalist – a reformed nail-biter, a hater of cheap nail salons (I have done my time in those places but now see the light) and resistor to acrylic nails (have also done my time there). So what’s a girl to do if she doesn’t want plastic nails that can cause serious injury? Well… read on!

Nails Inc.nails inc

This stuff is very nice – high-gloss and minimal fuss. The colour range has improved a lot since I first saw the Gel Effect about 12 months ago. Retails for $26.95 at David Jones. I’m hardly a Nails Inc expert as I’ve only ever tried a few (did you see the price?!), but the packaging and colours do intrigue me.

Rimmel Salon Pro

rimmel salon pro

Decent brush, huge range of colours and awesome prices (currently $4.48 at Priceline). Rimmel has a range of polish types, but this seems to be the best value, and best pay-off. Your manicure will last you a fair few days and the actual formula will remain decent for a long time – I’ve had Essie polishes dry out faster than this one.

O.P.I. Nail Lacquer

OPI Berry

Ah, once the jewel in the nail polish crown! I was a long time devotee of OPI, back when it was a clear outlier in the nail market – expensive and luxurious. I still think this is one of the longest wearing of the home manicure polishes and the best when you want a very classic shade. If you want something really on trend and fun, OPI doesn’t do it, I’m afraid. I’ve yet to try any of their new lines such as the Gel version, so let me know if you have any thoughts. Retails for $19.95 at department stores, but not impossible to find it in a bargain bin in Gloss/Trade Secret etc. My, how far you fell, OPI.

Essiecolors_summer_sunset-sneaks

Essie knocked the crown off from OPI, in my personal opinion. It came along, not as cheap as brands such as Rimmel, but not as expensive as OPI, and took over the home manicure market. I am not a blind fan however; I recently bought a bottle which dried up after 2 uses – very disappointing! Luckily, I only ever buy it on sale at Priceline (RRP is $16.95). I’ll admit that the fact that it goes on sale made me a fan of it over OPI!  Essie’s range is updated regularly and is very fun and fast – which of course means there are some hideous shades and some lovely ones also.

So, if you are old school like me, and enjoy slapping on a colour at home when you have some free time, give these a go (and let me know!). Here’s to claiming back regular nails in 2016!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Paint the Town Pink (with Lipstick!)

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

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

Rimmel Pencil Collage

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

Chi Chi Collage

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

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

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

MAC Lip Collage

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Night Pamper (February ’15)

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

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

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

February

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

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

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

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

be enlightened

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

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

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

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…

Summertime Sadness

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

Summertime Sadness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trying to be a beautiful brunette…

Well weren’t you a wonderful little surprise, Beautiful Brunette? After years of committing myself as a John Frieda Brilliant Brunette devotee, I never really gave any other coloured shampoos a chance – very racist of me.

Now my hair tale is essentially this – I am brunette. I don’t have dark ethnic locks, I don’t have mousey brown hair – I have a fairly classic brunette colour. A sucker for a trend, I started getting balayage (ombre) done to it about a year ago, and each visit I get lighter and lighter (sometimes intentional, sometimes not so intentional). Post USA, my hair was a darling shade of orange, and I understand the pain of those who have blonde highlights – it is so hard to maintain! Most Friday’s I get a bit of time to browse Priceline, which is one of my favourite past times. Unfortunately, it’s very hard for me to walk out not having spent any money. One particularly orange-y day, I browsed the hair section, particularly the blonde toners. $15 for a bottle I will rarely use wasn’t enough to convince me, so instead I started browsing some of the bargain bins – and discovered the Beautiful Brunette range.

BB shampoo

$6.90 – minimal risk. It was marked down by about $1, but I’m also a sucker for marketing – slap a pink piece of paper on it Priceline, and I’m interested. I picked up the above shampoo, and the below conditioner (Argan Smooth Deep Moisture Conditioner), and figured my hair couldn’t end up any worse.
ArganSmoothConditioner

These were both a very good find! The shampoo seemed to take a bit of the orange brassiness of my highlights off, and the conditioner was looovely. I returned the following week, and bought another pair. If you’re going to give one of the two a chance, I really recommend the conditioner – the combo is nice, but I think the real winner is the conditioner. It’s very moisturising, and smells quite nice. It has a bit of a shimmer to it when squeezed out of the bottle, but don’t let that scare you off – it doesn’t seem to transfer into your hair. I noticed quite an improvement after only a few uses – combine this with coconut oil, and you’ll be unstoppable!

Would I buy it again? Already have – I think it’s a more competitively priced version of Brilliant Brunette.
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who wants serious moisture – or wants to maintain a decent brunette colour.
Is it value for money? It’s fairly normal shampoo pricing, so yes.
How can you get it? Priceline has plenty of stock – I also spotted it tonight in Big W for $4.80.