Friday, November 30, 2012

Sweet As Candy

I'd heard so much about the L'Oreal Color Infallible eyeshadows but was never inclined to try them for myself because I could never find a shade I was truly captivated by. I thought Bronzed Taupe and Amber Rush, shades exclusive to the US, were the only ones worth getting but I'm steering clear of online shopping as much as possible so those were out of the question.
Out of the shades available locally, Hourglass Beige and Sahara Treasure weren't bad but I couldn't see myself using them often. As pretty as Hourglass Beige is, it's too light to use as a lid colour for me, and I have better inner corner highlight shadows. Sahara Treasure was a very pretty vintage gold, but not nearly flattering enough to warrant the purchase. Often the L'Oreal stands have been raided and only the brown/navy/black/pink/coral shades are left (from my experience). However, some idle browsing of the L'Oreal stand revealed some new shades released in a new collection called Miss Candy- there were some colours like Naughty Strawberry and Sassy Chamallo (though I'm almost certain the ones in the store were called Sassy Marshmallow) but the only colour I could see myself wearing was Tender Caramel

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November Favourites

It has seriously felt like the longest month ever. The entire first half of November was exam season. That was awful, but now that's gone and we're on holidays, and the seniors of 2012 have graduated! And results came out today and I didn't fail everything! Yay! 
This month's favourites round off the spring-ish makeup, as it'll be summer in a few days time.

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF15
I'm still loving this. :) Even if my shade Real Sand is a tiny bit too light, it's so weightless with decent coverage, and it's better for my skin than liquid foundation. 

BYS Blusher in Coral
I only use this blush with the Real Techniques Blush Brush, as it is so pigmented that it can be problematic. It's such a pretty colour when blended out- a really summery, feel-good kind of healthy glow. I'm currently reading Jane Austen's Emma and in it is a heated discussion about the importance of the glow of fine health and I immediately thought of this blush. Ohh the signs of makeup junkieness. I like this coral shade but I want to branch into pinkish peachy high end blushes: I'm thinking of MAC Springsheen, Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine, Benefit Coralista or NARS Orgasm.

Australis Creme Colour for Lips and Cheeks in Flirtatious Pink
I've been using this with the Real Techniques Stippling Brush and while I hated using it before, once I started using it with the RT brush the effect was wholly different. Very natural and healthy-looking. :)

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle
Such a pretty peachy champagne- I love that each MSF pattern is unique- I've been using it as an inner corner highlight as well as on the tops of the cheekbones. 

Essence Gel Eyeliner
I was feeling adventurous and decided to do gel eyeliner for work this month, and I'm so glad I didn't throw this out in my past few clean out sessions. :) Even after one crazy six hour-long shift, the liner did not smudge on my oily lids. It's earned its place in my collection. :)

I love that Carmex comes in a tube. It doesn't taste or smell good but it's a great balm. :)

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Charm
I bought the RJBKBS in Charm after hearing about it (ViviannaDoesMakeup, sleep and water) and I'm not disappointed. I find Charm only looks good after lip balm and exfoliating, which is quite a process but it's pretty.

Napoleon Perdis Luxe Lip Gloss in Perfect Peach
I love this colour, and the texture of Napoleon glosses is so nourishing and comfortable to wear. Napoleon doesn't sell this line of gloss anymore, but I have tried their current Luminous Lip Veil gloss, which is also really nice. 

Real Techniques Stippling Brush

A new favourite. This is great for thicker foundations like Skin79 BB Cream and powder and cream blush.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil
I dare say Tea Tree Oil works just as well as the Origins Super Spot Remover, even though it's definitely something for resistant skin. If you have very sensitive skin, I think it might burn :S but it's so effective at clearing up spots! It's just as effective than the Origins Super Spot Remover and so much cheaper too. 

I've been using Bio-Oil on my cheeks and it's made such a difference. I used to have redness on my cheeks, and that's gone now, and my skin isn't as dry when it doesn't have anything on.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
This has been great for an odd breakout on my cheek near my jawline and redness. I heard so much about it and when it arrived from iHerb I was so excited to try it out because I was recovering from stress-related skin issues. It really helped and I'm very glad I bought it. Pity we can't get it in Australia.

Phew! I had a surprising number of favourites this month. I'll be away in freezing Harbin, China, for half of next month, so expect to see 'travel makeup bag'-type posts soon! Meanwhile, happy holidays, all you Uni kiddies! Let's try to be productive these next couple of months! :p Take care and God bless! xxx

Monday, November 26, 2012

Max Brenner and Priceline Purchases

Clockwise from top left: Deck chairs at South Bank; Chocolate Dip; Belgian Waffle with a side of vanilla ice cream; Pink Granitas in Alice cups.

I loved the deck chairs! They're such a good idea. We sat there for a good 30mins and it was comfortable and not too crowded.
I didn't enjoy the waffle much, I've definitely had nicer waffles and nicer ice cream. But the granita drinks were nice, as always. The Pink Granita is made with passionfruit and strawberry, and it's really good. :)

This was from the last time we were at Max Brenner a few weeks ago: we had the Fondue for Two and compared to the one we had at San Churro last time, this was so much nicer. I liked that there were two types of chocolate and the sides were more practical for fondue. San Churro gave pretzels and caramel popcorn, which are so messy to dip because you can't pick them up with the forks. 
The drink in the weird teapot is a white chocolate chai drink and it doesn't pour out from the spout- I was so surprised when my friend picked it up and sat it on top of her glass. When you press down the drink pours out of the bottom of the teapot. :D

I went to the city to buy the Illamasqua Blush Duo but when I swatched it I wasn't as enthused as I thought I was, so I didn't buy it. 
Pick-me-up shopping at Priceline, and I managed to stick to buying basic 'necessities' instead of more blush or eyeshadow. :) Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel and Dove Foaming Make Up Remover. I wanted the Rimmel Nude eyeliner as well but they didn't have any left. I wanted a brow gel, and had the Essence one in hand but when I was mooching around the brush section, which is next to the lashes section, I saw Ardell's brow gel and I looked up reviews on the spot (have you ever done that? :p) and wound up getting the Ardell one. 

All in all, a good day. :) Holidays are going to be fun. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Clean Out: Not-Empties

Goodbye, little ones! Unfortunately you won't be missed. I decided another clean out was due, and found this one was a lot easier, mostly because I've been making 'investment purchases' and haven't bought anything out of irrational 'it's cheap!' reasoning for a long while. The ones that found their way to the bin are mostly cheapie impulse buys, back when my standards were lower and I was less informed. Needless to say, that didn't last long once I discovered the virtues of products that were slightly more expensive but worth so much more. 

Some coloured eyeliners and a liquid eyeliner pen were the first to go, as I rarely wear eyeliner, much less green or blue variants. The eyeliner pen was lacking- less inky than I'd like, not at all water-resistant and the nib wasn't rigid enough imo. The Stay Natural concealer wasn't too bad, but shortly after that I bought some liquid foundations and the Laura Mercier Undercover concealer, making it more or less redundant. I'd forgotten all about the Smokey Eyes brush, but pulled it out when I was reorganising. The bristles aren't dense or long enough for proper blending, and it has the tendency to lose a few hairs now and then. Into the bin it goes. 
The Essence Stay All Day long lasting cream eyeshadow in Glammy Goes To... was something I'd bought after reading Tiffany's high praise for it, but after a couple of uses I grew to dislike its texture. It was difficult to blend smoothly, which is kind of important for the glitterbomb it is. I really liked the colour, as I let L'Oreal Infallible Sahara Treasure get away and Glammy Goes To... is supposedly a dupe for Sahara Treasure's vintage gold. 
The top coat was a let down though Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri has since replaced it in my collection and I could not be happier with it. The eyeshadow quad is on its way out because I never used anything but the matte cream highlight shadow in the Quattro eyeshadow quad and unsuccessfully tried to depot the singular white shade (the glue on those pans is really stubborn!) and although a very generous sample (15mL, when most foundations are 30mL full-sized) Revlon Colorstay was way too heavy for me, the colour match was off and the acrylic paint smell wasn't something I could get used to as it didn't dissipate. 
The concealer, once labelled Rimmel Hydrasense, was decent while it lasted but I think it's way past its use-by date (ew!). Lastly, the BYS white nail polish with a striper brush for nail art was something that served me very well- silver glitter French manicures for all three formals in my senior year of high school would not have been possible without this little guy. 
Cleaning out is oddly refreshing. Now to start hitting pan on some of those blushers! :p

Cue picture of organised makeup storage, now free of pesky unused/unusable products. *breathes sigh of relief*

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Real Techniques!

So the other day, I found myself in possession of the Real Techniques Stippling and Blush Brushes and thought I'd post about them because I personally had a lot to think about before buying the two. I bought the Blush brush from Priceline when it was on sale, and it's usually $22, and I bought the Stippling brush from iHerb and it cost me $10 with $6 flat rate shipping. It sucks that Priceline charge more than double the US prices, but there's not much you can do about it without resorting to ordering online.

I find the Blush brush to be less dense than I'm used to, but very soft and good for pigmented cheek products because it doesn't pick up a lot of product. It doesn't work well for baked blushes like the Bourjois round pots because those aren't very pigmented because they have a tendency to seal off, so you need to take a cotton bud to the surface to scratch the top layer off. That's where the Stippling brush comes in. The Stippling brush is good for so many things. I like using it for thicker, creamier foundations like Skin79 BB Cream, as well as cream blush and powder blush. The bristles are shorter and more stiff, so I really like it for the Bourjois blushes and the Australis Creme Colour for Cheeks and Lips, which I find is a little tough to blend. Both the brushes have a handle-base that stands up on its own, which some like, some don't. I like the handle, because when you've got half a dozen products scattered over the dresser, it's nice to be able to put a brush down standing up so it takes up less room and the brush hairs don't touch the tabletop.  But it can get a bit cramped if your cup holder/brush holder isn't very big. Like always, pros and cons.

Real Techniques are generally the best affordable brushes on the market. They're made of synthetic taklon bristles so they're cruelty free and don't drink up the product, and the coloured aluminium handles make the brushes so easily identifiable and iconic. They don't shed and wash really well. I'm pretty happy with my little collection. The only major thing I'm missing is the Starter Set of eye brushes, but I don't mind because I don't do eye makeup often and I just bought some Sigma eye brushes so I'm pretty set for now. 

I know when I was getting my brush collection together I was tossing up between these two because I heard so many great things about both of them and only wanted to get one. I didn't think I'd end up with both of them, but that's just how things go. I personally prefer the Stippling brush because it can do more, but it's also pretty important to have a fluffy blush brush in your collection, and my favourite brushes for that purpose are the Ecotools Mineral Powder brush from the Bamboo 5 Piece Brush Set, or the Ecotools Blush Brush. I am glad I have the Real Techniques Blush brush for more pigmented blushes, but I could probably do without it because I don't own as many pigmented blushes that need it. But if you do own some very pigmented blushes, you might like the Blush brush. The Stippling brush is great multi-tasking brush and I think everybody could do with a duo-fibre stippling brush in their collection.

So whether you get one, or the other, or both, I don't think you'll look back after you've tried Real Techniques brushes. I definitely haven't. :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thinly Veiled

We've had the strangest weather in Brisbane- fine in the morning, storming sheets of rain and hailing in the evening, and 29 degrees and sunny the morning after! Bizarre Brisbane weather. 

I received my Sigma order and thought I'd share my thoughts about the two brushes I bought. :) Despite hearing about Sigma brushes from almost every second beauty Youtuber, I had never tried anything from them before. I'm very happy with Ecotools and Real Techniques for face brushes so I passed on their iconic Sigmax foundation brush line but I wanted some eye brushes that weren't similar to the ones in the Ecotools 6 Piece Eye Brush set. I ordered the E25 Blending and E30 Pencil, which are almost dupes for the MAC 217 and 219. I say almost dupes because although the shapes are similar and the functions are identical, the bristles on the E25 are longer than the 217, and apparently the E30 is softer and less stiff than the 219. They're natural bristle brushes, which I'm a bit iffy about. These are the first animal hair brushes I've bought and I infinitely prefer the synthetic bristles of Ecotools and Real Techniques, because these have a distinct smell. Also, the E30 was shedding like crazy before I washed it. I've never had a brush shed (a testament to how good Ecotools and Real Techniques are) before so it was very alarming. But after washing them and letting them dry, the shedding stopped. (Phew.)

It's no secret that Sigma copies MAC, they even copied the numbers of the brushes before overhauling their line, and though the workmanship isn't the same, they're decent quality for the price. All the Sigma affiliates post 10% off codes every month too, so it's even more affordable. Sigma also does a free gift for every order over $30, but it's been more or less confirmed that the free gift is a travel sized E25 so even though I contemplated ordering the Sigma equivalent of the MAC 109, I didn't bother ordering something else to make it over the $30 mark since I was already ordering the full sized E25. I noticed Sigma's raised their prices in the last few months- when I placed my order, the brushes cost $9 each, but they're now $10.

The MAC 217 is said to be the universal eye brush, but seeing as it's some extortionate price in Australia ($37, I just checked), I thought I'd try out the Sigma version instead. The brush is a typical fluffy blending brush but because the shape is cinched instead of being rounded, creating an oval shape, you can also use it to quickly shade and 'add colour to the crease' (I say it like that because I don't do crease colours. I can thank my Asian eyes for the inability to do so.) while blending. I wanted a pencil brush for darker eye looks (for the once-in-a-blue-moon occasions that necessitate eye makeup) or to highlight to the inner corner. The pencil brushes that came to mind were the MAC 219 and the Sigma E30 so because I rarely use eyeshadow, I decided to be cheap and buy the two brushes from Sigma, because the total including shipping was less than getting the MAC ones, even from AllCosmeticsWholesale (219 and 217). 

I've played with them a couple of times and so far they've proven themselves to be pretty decent. They haven't shed since, thankfully. I'm happy I bought them. Sigma's shipping can get pretty expensive depending on what you're ordering so that's something to watch out for, and like every online order, they can take a couple of weeks to arrive. I think Sigma's renditions are alright in and of themselves, but whether or not they're comparable to the MAC originals is something else. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sent from the US of A!

So, you know how I've been whining about the postal service losing my packages? Well, long story short, all the packages did arrive on time! I don't want to go into whatever happened but I finally have my Sigma brushes, my iHerb order and my blog sale purchases! YAY!

From the blog sale, I bought a Smashbox eyeshadow in Pronto, a MAC Mineralize eyeshadow duo in Illusionary/Burning Ambition, and she kindly agreed to order a Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation in 60 Natural Beige for me. The foundation's actually a smidge darker than Bourjois 53 :S oops. So I guess if I get darker this summer I'll have a foundation to match. Although it's said to be a dupe for NARS Sheer Glow, I don't have Sheer Glow so I can't say if it is. But it's very similar to Healthy Mix Serum in consistency and coverage, and maybe even in finish. The scent is slightly fruity, from the 'exclusive antioxidant blend' I suppose. The foundation was bubble-wrapped really well so it arrived intact but the Smashbox eyeshadow smashed (punny). :( I tried to re-press it this morning because it was so pitiful in its rubble state but I tried to press it back together and I think it'll hold up for now. I didn't have any rubbing alcohol so I just compacted it down with a coin wrapped in a tissue and it seemed to be okay. It was very messy, especially because the Smashbox packaging is rubberised like NARS, but the colour is pretty so I wanted to be able to use it. It's a shimmery pink-leaning beige champagne. The MAC Mineralize eyeshadow duo was limited edition so you can't get it anymore, but it's only okay. I definitely prefer the brown shade. The lighter shade is very yellow and filled with gold shimmer, so I don't like it much.

From L-R: Pronto, Illusionary/Burning Ambition 

From iHerb I ordered the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush. I'll post about the Real Techniques Stippling and Blush brushes together in a separate post, so I only photographed the mask. I've tried it out twice so far, and I think it does work. It somewhat shrunk pore size and calmed redness. It looks really gross and funky straight out of the tube, and smells minty. I've never tried face masks before, but this isn't difficult to apply and washes off easily. :)

I highly recommend getting the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque from iHerb because it's under $4 and the tube is massive. I'll post about the Sigma brushes separately another day. Now that it's holidays, I have lots of time to blog and I've definitely got a few things to blog about. :) Yay for summer holidays!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains: Charm and Honey

The Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains have finally hit Australian shores! 
I bought mine from Priceline as they had a Buy Two Save 30% offer on all Revlon products, so the total came to around $25. They're available on eBay for around $10, but I would much rather buy them in person now that I've lost a few online orders to the iffy postal service, and they're not particularly expensive at $18 each. I think you can get them cheaper depending where you shop. 
And of course, I picked the two most wearable shades. Honey is wildly popular- the first Priceline I went to had sold out of them, even when the sales assistant looked in the stocks there were none left. She kindly gave another Priceline a call, and since the closest store that had them was only a street away, I toddled over and purchased Honey and Charm. I wasn't particularly interested in these but when my Blogger friends Michelle and Lena posted about the shades Sweetheart, Honey and Charm, I decided I'd get them after all (you enablers! :p). Not all of the shades were released in Australia- sadly we miss out on Rendezvous, the orangey coral. I was waiting for my bus and popped into a shop and swatched the ones I'd bought, as well as some others like Sweetheart (hot pink) and Romantic (red) and when I got on the bus with the swatches on my hand, the girls in the seat across the aisle looked at me like I was crazy.

Charm is a sheer peachy-nude, which is a first for me because I don't wear nudes or peachy lip colours. I'm very much a natural pink kind of girl. But after hearing about how Charm stained a pinkish coral, I was intrigued and bought it to try, given that if I didn't like the way the peachy-nude looked on me, at least not all would be lost. Honey is a darker mauve-pink, a very neutral wearable shade, which stains dark coral-pink. Both are decently pigmented, with impressive wear time. When first applied they're almost glossy, but within the hour I found the glossiness wore off and left the stain behind, which lingers for about three hours. I'm almost certain the other shades (bar Precious, which is a brown-nude) would stick around even longer. I found Charm changed to the darker stain that I'd heard about remarkably quickly, after about half an hour. I don't mind though, because I like it and it looks nice and cheery without being a proper bright lipstick. I read that the initial peachy nude shade resembles MAC's Shy Girl but when I was at MAC talking to the makeup artist there, she told me that unless you've got some serious eye makeup on, Shy Girl can look a bit pale. Thankfully Charm's very sheer, so the natural pigmentation of the lips still shows through. Honey looks scarily mauve in the crayon, but applies more pink. It's quite dark but because it's sheer it's still wearable- right up my alley. I try to branch out and try blue-based pinks and brown-pinks once in a while but I always find these natural pinks more flattering. 

While I like that they have decent colour pay-off without the uncomfortable feeling of lipstick, I'm not a fan of the texture. It emphasises any flaky bits of skin so I found I had to exfoliate and apply some balm a few minutes before putting it on. I initially thought they were a bit hard and waxy compared to the Face of Australia Sheer Gloss Lip Crayons which are really soft, almost inconveniently so, but I found that was just the sealed outer layer- once you use them a few times the outer layer wears off and it glides on smoothly. Many people like the novelty of the lip crayon, but for me, that wore off pretty quickly after I bought the Face of Australia Lip Crayons earlier this year. I don't think they're easier to apply than a balm or lipstick, partly because the only lipsticks I wear are sheer, but also because I feel that the long-wearing stain element means they require careful application, especially with the brighter/darker colours like the fuschia Lovesick and the vampy Smitten. Revlon are really wiping out the competition in the drugstore lip product scene, with the Lip Butters last year and these Balm Stains- the wide colour range and cute names have made them so successful. I think the Balm Stain line could do with a peachy pink like Peach Parfait, but it's no big deal. Good job, Revlon. ;)

I generally love minty things but these have a distinctly artificial mint scent that I don't particularly like. However, I'm very happy with the two that I chose and I know I'll wear them often. Like my Revlon Lip Butter purchases, I tend to pick more wearable shades. :) Hopefully if you're in the market for some of these, you find the shades you want! They're relatively recent releases, so the shelves haven't been looted yet. :p Good luck!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

For A Good Cause

More MAC! To celebrate the beginning of the summer holidays, I treated myself to MAC's Viva Glam V lipstick because all the proceeds from the Viva Glam line go towards helping support men, women and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS through the MAC AIDS Fund. There's a whole list of things the money from one lipstick can do for them on the organisation's website. I don't normally buy MAC products because they are the most extortionate makeup brand in Australia- more than double the US prices- but since the Viva Glam line is non-profit and goes to charity, I'll happily hand over my money since I aim to donate every year anyway. :)

I didn't hear about the Viva Glam lipsticks and their cause until I was looking at swatches from Karla Sugar, and I didn't take a fancy to any of them except Viva Glam V, but I wasn't enthused enough to go out and buy it. A few months later I watched a video of Tanya Burr's and she said that she wears Viva Glam V the most often out of all her MAC lipsticks, which is pretty impressive. I really liked the look of it on her and she was very persuasive. :) I thought it was Viva Glam V was overlooked in the blogging world until I came across the series by the group of bloggers calling themselves the Lipstick Bandits, and they chose MAC Viva Glam V as 'The Universal Lipstick' (Rae's and Jenny's posts). Any doubt that it wouldn't look the same when on me was gone when I tried it at MAC- I really liked it, and the sales assistant was actually really nice. I see Asians at all the other counters, but she's the only Asian I've seen at MAC. I think her name is Samantha. I'm not sure if it's a practice at all MAC stores, but when I was paying at the counter, she rang a bell and all the MAC staff cheered, and she explained that every time someone bought a Viva Glam product they did the bell-cheer thing to celebrate another donation to the MAC AIDS Fund. Although I found it  a bit embarrassing, it's a thoughtful, cute little MAC tradition.

Viva Glam V has a Lustre finish, and MAC describes the colour as a 'Neutral Pink With Pearl'. I agree. It has slight mauve tones in the bullet but on the lips it's a flattering medium pink that enhances the natural pigmentation of the lips. It's full of golden shimmer but it isn't gritty or problematic (Revlon Peach Parfait, I'm looking at you!) and looks really pretty. I'm innately drawn to these neutral medium pinks- I honestly think this is my favourite shade of lip colour. I don't own that many lip products (which is why I let myself buy a couple more) so I don't have any dupes for it. This is my first MAC lipstick so I'm not familiar with the different finishes, but Lustre finish lipsticks seem to be sheer and non-drying. It's easy to apply and feels comfortable on. I've heard about the vanilla scent of MAC lipsticks, and ohmygoodness it's yummy. I read somewhere that MAC lipsticks are paraben-free and scented with pure vanillin. Yay. Packaging-wise, I think the MAC lipstick tube is a bit plain. It's shaped like a bullet, and while it's sleek, I think it's a bit simple for the amount it costs. That aside, the silver-speckled black plastic casing is slim and classy, and I think the Viva Glam line's signature hot pink is much prettier than the silver of the regular lipsticks.

I'm so excited about my first MAC lipstick, and I like the look of Costa Chic and Shy Girl but at $36 apiece, I doubt I'll be getting many more soon. 
Oh, one more thing: Priceline's currently having a 'Buy Two Save 30%' promotion on Revlon products and most of them stock the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains! Not quite as good as the BOGOF that they had when the Revlon Lip Butters had just come out, but still decent! I think the JBKBS are better value than the lip butters, because the stain lasts for a while and you get more product. They're $18 each but with the promotion I bought Honey and Charm. Still trying them out, but it's a decent deal! Go go go! Before Honey sells out! A really nice salesgirl at the first Priceline I went to helped me out and made a call to a second Priceline in the next street to ask if Honey was in stock. And I wasn't even that keen on getting these! :/ No more spending for me. I'm so glad it's holidays- though the past two weeks have just flown by. The exams didn't go too well so I'll be on tenterhooks until the results come out. (Yeah, real tenterhooks, going to MAC and Priceline and buying lipstick.) I'm so determined to pick up my GPA next year though! Heh. :) Take care and God bless! xx

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not A BB Cream

While looking for the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains in stores (a futile effort, as they haven't reached stores near me yet. All I found were 'Coming Soon' cards. Ugh.) I recently purchased the Garnier Oil Free Miracle Skin Perfector 'All-In-One B.B. Cream' for Oily & Combination Skin to try. I won't list off the skincare benefits because you can read, but from the sounds of it, this product does everything short of a skincare routine-  hydration, radiance, UV protection, etc. Though I mostly like the product, I made the mistake of picking up the shade Medium. I'm generally a light-medium in most base lines, floating between a MAC NC25-30, Bourjois 52-53 and Laura Mercier Real Sand-Natural Beige in the mineral powders or UC-3 in the concealers. At the moment I'm more tanned than usual so I match Bourjois 53. I hate being in between shades because more often than not, I'll have to deal with the slightly-wrong shade or buy both and mix the two. I went for the Garnier BB cream in Medium because I'd seen swatches of Light and I thought I was too dark for it, especially when most of the target consumers would be Caucasian. I feared it would be too pale, so it only made sense to pick the one in Medium. They didn't have a tester so I bought it hoping it would match. I'd swatched it a couple of weeks ago at another store, and though the lighting wasn't the best, I thought it somewhat matched. Of course, it doesn't. :(

I've tried Korean BB Creams, which are the 'originals', as far as I'm concerned. I use and love the one-shade-that-oxidises-to-match-you Skin79 BB Creams, and I've not branched into the Maybelline BB mousses, Rimmel BB creams or the previous Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector 'BB Cream' because I mostly just laugh at these Western brands bringing out light coverage foundations/tinted moisturisers with some 'skincare benefits' slapped on the box. I like the Korean BB creams for their whitening properties, because the arbutin helps to lighten my hyperpigmentation and acne scars. I also prefer the SPF25 in the Skin79 BB creams to the SPF15 in the Garnier version. 

Having said that, I wanted to buy a tinted moisturiser to use on days I can't be bothered with real foundation. I read reviews on the Bobbi Brown version and the Laura Mercier ones but I thought I'd start off with one of the new Garnier ones because for $13.50, trying it out can't hurt. 

"Garner Miracle Skin Perfector Oil Free is a new generation of skincare. This B.B. Cream uses an all-in-one technology." LOL. 'All-in-one' technology. What does that even mean?
I thought the Recommended age group graphic was interesting. I'm not really into the skincare benefits that Garnier claims, but if they do make a difference for some people, I'm happy for them. I know BB creams were developed commercially in Korea to combine skincare benefits with light coverage makeup, and the ones I've tried have UV protection, whitening and wrinkle improvement. Can't really vouch for the wrinkle improvement, and you kinda have to take the UV protection for its word, but I did see the whitening effects after using it for several weeks. Yay for arbutin.

The tube contains 40mL, which is 10mL more than standard foundations. I like the packaging and the skinny nozzle- very MAC Studio Sculpt-inspired. The only problem I can think of is  too much product being dispensed because of the fluid consistency and the way it's been designed to stand up. The consistency is runny, which isn't characteristic of BB creams, but I don't mind it seeing as I intended to treat it as I would a tinted moisturiser. It's easy to blend, but I'll have to get the Light shade if I want to use it properly. The Medium shade match is terrible upon application. It's way too pink and dark for me. I match Bourjois 53 Beige Clair perfectly at the moment, and when I swatched them side by side, the Bourjois was much lighter and more yellow than the Garnier. I think this Garnier BB cream oxidises a little, but not in a way that allows me to be able to get away with this shade. And I don't see how something dark can oxidise to become lighter. :( In any case, I'll try it out a bit more and if it works/somehow matches me, I'll keep you updated. :)

Overall, I like the consistency, and the packaging, and the product in general, but I bought the wrong shade. If the only other shade Light doesn't match me, I might just stick to Korean BB Creams for a one-shade-fits-all alternative to foundation.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Savouring Spring

Clearly someone can't get enough of tweaking on picmonkey. I'm just mucking around, I don't really know what I'm doing hahaha. 

It's the last month of Spring! For the past week I haven't been wearing makeup much (exam season, so studying and sitting the exams = mostly bare face) but when I do, I streamline my routine to these four products. And my eyelash curler. I tried including the eyelash curler in the photo but everybody knows what eyelash curlers look like and they're seriously the most awkward thing to photograph. I was really happy with the Laura Mercier Undercover when I first got it and it featured in Favourites posts in the months following, but from the start I knew the Secret Concealer far outshines the Secret Camouflage. The consistency is so easy to blend and the shade UC-3 works perfectly for me to cover the undereye baggage. I don't have bad undereye circles so I only wear concealer sometimes. :) I love using the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder as a mineral foundation but lately I've just been sweeping it on like a setting powder, and using it to set the concealer on lazy days. I want NARS Luster and/or Madly, but before buying it I'm trying out peachy cheeks with the poor man's substitute Bourjois pot blush in Ambre D'Or, which is a fittingly spring-ish peachy coral. It's got a tonne of gold shimmer so it kind of doubles as a highlighter too. I haven't been wearing eye makeup at all, just curling my lashes with the Shiseido eyelash curler. I've been wearing eyeliner more often recently but haven't found any that are worth mentioning. I'm playing it safe with pencils for now, because gel involves so much brush-cleaning and liquid requires a lot more practice. My favourite lip product at the moment is Korres' Jasmine lip butter, which just screams spring imo, the scent is so yummy. 

It's a more than a little pathetic but this post is largely for the benefit of taking a pretty photo of makeup. I can be really boring when it comes to photos but I felt inspired today. Don't know why lol. Anyhow, back to studying! Two more exams to go, Tuesday and Wednesday and boy do I need to knuckle down and get some work done. Good luck to you if you're doing finals too! Take care and God bless! xx

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How Much Does My Face Cost?

This tag has been going around recently and I thought I'd chip in my share. I've established something resembling a 'current routine' that I've been wearing for the past few weeks, so thought it would be appropriate to tot it up, as I really should be held accountable for the amount of money I've poured into cosmetics. Almost all the tag responses I've seen result in horrified shock at the amount, but I'll try not to follow suit, because I know (and am constantly being reminded and chided) that I've spent an unreasonable amount on the stuff. :/

For base, I've been using a relatively new addition to my collection, the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in Real Sand. Although a tad too light for me, I've really been enjoying the way this looks and feels on my skin. It's not cakey or powdery, but quite silky and feels very light on the skin, almost like it's not there at all. I buff a layer of it on, and where I need it, I build it up to about medium coverage on my forehead and cheeks. The finish is glowy, as a result of the pearl powder in the mineral makeup, and yet it controls oil remarkably well. I apply it with the miracle foundation brush discovery, the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. As the mineral powder is simply buffed into the skin and does the double duty of a foundation and a powder, it cuts one step out of a liquid foundation routine and saves me time. :)

Cheeks-wise, my current picks are Bourjois round pot blush in Ambre D'Or- an appropriately spring-ish/summery peachy apricot drenched in gold shimmer- blended out with the Real Techniques Blush Brush, and because the glowy base and shimmery blush clearly aren't enough, I've been reaching for the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle, dusted on with the Real Techniques Contour Brush.

I've never been a big eye makeup person, most days I'm happy just curling my lashes with the Shiseido eyelash curler and applying a couple of coats of mascara- my current one is CoverGirl's Lash Exact waterproof mascara. A new addition to the routine is the CoverGirl Liquiline Blast eyeliner in Brown Blaze, which I use on the upper lashline and blend out using the smudger on the end of the pencil. I find the angled smudger gives more control than a blending brush because I'm just aiming to soften the edges, not give myself a smokey eye.

My lips are pretty pigmented, so most days I'm content just applying some lip balm. But it's not that simple- no, never when it comes to lip balm- a small happiness of my day is switching up my lip balm (sad, I know). Some days I'll use Maybelline Baby Lips in Relieving Menthol, some days Carmex, some days Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine, and on days I feel like a bit of colour, I'll use Korres Lip Butters in Pomegranate, which is my idea of a perfect 'everyday' shade for summer, or Wild Rose when I want something more pigmented. For the purposes of the tag, I'll use the Korres Lip Butters, which I purchased in a set of three. 

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder (StrawberryNet)- $44
Real Techniques Core Collection (iHerb)- $18
Bourjois round pot blush in Ambre D'Or (on sale)- $5
Real Techniques Blush Brush (on sale)- $19
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle (blog sale)- $25
Shiseido Eyelash Curler (eBay)- $14
CoverGirl Lash Exact waterproof mascara (eBay)- $7
CoverGirl Liquiline Blast in Brown Blaze (on sale)- $7
Korres Lip Saver (StrawberryNet)- $12

Total = $151

Clearly, I don't like paying for things when they're full-priced. I could probably have calculated how much I'd saved by not buying them at full RRP too, but I won't bother. I'm not sure how I feel about my total. It's less than some other tag responses I've seen but $150+ on one face's worth of products isn't the cheapest for such a simple look. But I like a mix of high and low end brands, and go out of my way to get things for less (ASOS, StrawberryNet, eBay) and with the cosmetic markup in Australia (it impacts more on drugstore brands than department store brands!) I like to think I've made some wise choices in the past. I have bought a tonne of cheap stuff I wish I hadn't, but that's another story. Anyhow, considering I own a lot more than this, and if you consider the fact that I don't even wear makeup everyday, if I had to tot up the total cost of my makeup collection I would be aghast when I see the sum, I'm sure. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October Empties!

I go through products very slowly- it takes me ages to finish things up. My snail's pace of finishing products is the reason why I've never done an Empties post before, but last month I somehow managed to finish things (very happy!) and the empties suddenly accumulated so I thought I'd post about it because the mini reviews could turn out useful!

Clean & Clear Advantage Fast Clearing Spot Gel
I was using this before I got the Origins Super Spot Remover, and I remember having to use a lot more of this than the Origins. The thin nozzle, and the thicker consistency, made it easier to use more product than the Origins'. The SA at Kit Cosmetics mentioned Clean & Clear products were a lot harsher on the skin, which I don't doubt. It worked, but not quite as well as the Origins, and I recently picked up a vial of Tea Tree Oil to try out too so... Repurchase? No.

Mary Kay Dual Coverage Powder Foundation
This was something my mum got a couple of years ago and I used it for semi and formal and I remember hitting pan on it last year, and have used it sparingly since because finding another powder foundation was something I wanted to put off for as long as possible. Its time has come, and I shall say goodbye quite happily as I'm welcoming the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder into my life. Repurchase? No.

Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof Mascara
I've used this since June, and from the smudging that was going on a couple of months ago, it looks like it's time to toss it. It's an excellent mascara- good wand, great separation, slightly lengthening, easy to use and suitably waterproof. But now that it's gross and smelling a little off, it's time to say goodbye. Repurchase? Yes, either when my current mascara's done its time or when the next sale comes around.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Blotting Tissues
This was one of the first products I bought earlier this year, when I first started getting into makeup. They function well, though the claims are a bit dubious. I'm not sure how beneficial the tamanu oil and Community Fair Trade tea tree oil would be when you're just blotting for a couple of seconds at a time. I do like using them, and though tissues serve the same purpose, when I used these on my nose and t-zone I noticed fewer spots cropped up. Is it a coincidence? Is it the tamanu oil and Community Fair Trade tea tree oil? Who knows. But at $4.95 for 65 sheets, they're affordable and readily available, and I do think I'll buy another pack. Repurchase? Yes.

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion
Formerly my go-to night moisturiser, I've been put off this by the fact that it contains Isopropyl Palmitate, and as I have acne-prone skin I want to avoid using anything with that ingredient, which can clog pores and cause acne. I had a bit of this left so I used it up on dry patches and elbows and am glad to be done with it, but I don't know what to replace it with! Repurchase? No.

Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo mini
I bought this on sale earlier this year and wasn't too keen on it because I wasn't used to dry shampoo. I grew up washing my hair every night and that's a habit that's hard to kick. Thankfully Brisbane's not as humid as Singapore so I'm trying (and failing) to wash my hair every second night, and this dry shampoo gets me through the days when I can't handle the feeling of unwashed hair. We'll be going to Harbin for two weeks at the end of the year, and from experiences in Switzerland, I know sometimes it can be so bitterly cold that you physically cannot bring yourself to wash your hair, so dry shampoo will come in very handy then. Repurchase? In the future, yes. At the moment I'm trying out a Klorane one, so not any time soon.

Lush Tea Tree Water
I bought this to use as a toner on my t-zone. I have combination skin so I wanted something to tone down the shiny nose. I like that it comes in a spray bottle but being a bit trigger-happy resulted in my cheeks drying out so I had to use a cotton pad and sweep it on instead, which I didn't really like doing. I don't think it did much apart from causing some redness on my cheeks. I finished it up by using it as a refreshing spray, which I find is necessary with the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. Although I could find a use for it in conjunction with the mineral powder, I recently bought the Avene Eau Thermale spray, the aerosol nozzle of which disperses a finer mist. Repurchase? No.

Hopefully I'll continue this empties kick and finish up more things! It's so satisfying to be done with a product, and to be able to move on to try new things. If only it were as easy to finish makeup products as it is skincare!