Sunday, September 30, 2012

And Now, a Spending Ban

I'm back! For the most part, I loved New York and had a fairly flawless time there, apart from the two massive bruises on my legs from bumping into the corners of the bed because our hotel room was so tiny, losing a purchase from Gap because I left the shopping bag somewhere, and walking around so much during my time there but somehow not losing any weight. But those are truly minor quibbles. I loved finally being able to be in and explore a city that I'd always dreamt of visiting. I saw my favourite Impressionist artworks in person, had Steve Kazee sign my Playbill after seeing Once on Broadway, got up close and personal with Niagara Falls on Maid of the Mist, ate at Momofuku and Gramercy Tavern, and experienced the joy of flying 21 hours, twice. But most predictably, I bought makeup like I’d never be able to buy makeup again. I’ve lugged a treasure trove of stuff back home and probably have enough to fuel posts until at least the end of the year.

Sephora is the black hole into which my money disappeared. What I bought there, along with MAC goodies, a few drugstore purchases and some other random things, comprise my shamefully indulgent bounty.

The largest concentration of items are Benefit products, mainly because of the significant price difference between the US and Australia. I got a little overexcited buying 3 boxed powders (which at the end of the day, aren't exactly cheap at around $30 each with 8.875% sales tax) and even a $25 mascara, despite the fact I have about 5 unopened tubes from different brands at home, and I'm perfectly content with Maybelline Define-A-Lash, which I can easily buy for $10. I thought about buying more NARS blushes but I had no idea what to get apart from Orgasm, which now that I have, I'd be interested to compare against my existing blush collection as I've apparently purchased countless dupes. I considered getting Sin, but opted for Benefit Dallas instead.

I'm somewhat surprised I didn't buy more from Revlon, given how much cheaper its products are in the US compared to Australia. I was thrilled to finally track down Whimsical, and I also managed to test the real deal (Deborah Lippmann Glitter in the Air) at Bloomingdale's, and can verify the two are more or less the same. I made sure to grab a bottle of Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation, which isn't available in Australia, despite also buying NARS Sheer Glow, which the Neutrogena is said to be a cheaper alternative to. 

Part of me wanted to buy more at MAC because of how relatively affordable the products were compared to Australian prices, but I already had gone overboard with blush, so I stuck to their raved about lipsticks (in Creme Cup, Shy Girl and Viva Glam Nicki). I also bought Rubenesque Paint Pot, as I was looking for something slightly different to the medium taupes and bronzes that I usually go for. Despite much temptation, I resisted buying Fluidline, Eye Kohl pencils, Satin Taupe, concealer or any brushes.

I also bought a couple of Laura Mercier face products, two beigey, rosey, slightly more neutral blushes, a Stila eyeliner pen and a small bottle of the seemingly polarising Caudalie Beauty Elixir. Posts about most of the stash to come. In the meantime, I need to battle jetlag and the depressing reality that my holiday is over and returning to work is just around the corner.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Packed and Ready

Just a quick heads up that this will be my last post for this month, as I will be flying out to New York tomorrow and returning at the end of September.

It'll be my first overseas trip, not counting sparse visits back to the homeland, so I'm hoping that a) I won't die on the plane (or other modes of transport) b) I won't get food poisoning or robbed or lose important stuff c) I won't get lost — unlikely, since I have no sense of direction and can't read a map to save my life d) my legs won't fall off from walking too much and general lack of fitness e) I won't bankrupt myself in Sephora. It doesn't help that I've unexpectedly caught some kind of bug in the past couple of days that may or may not get worse once I get there.

Internet access will probably be patchy at best, so I'll look forward to catching up on all your posts when I get back. Normal blogging to resume in October. No doubt, unless a horrible circumstance befalls me, I will be back with at least one major haul post.

I'll leave you with a picture of what I'm bringing in my makeup bag. I think I've been uncharacteristically moderate. Let's hope I can say the same for the return trip.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

BeautyJoint Haul

My BeautyJoint order finally arrived! I'd only recently heard of the site, but I managed to hold off making an order until Cherie thoughtfully notified me that the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone palette was back in stock. The instant I heard, I scrambled to add it to my cart, along with a few other items I'd already lined up. Delivery took 10 working days and all the contents were in pristine condition. The packaging certainly insured against breakage, with everything tightly bound by multiple layers of bubble wrap and industrial sticky tape.

I bought two nail polishes, China Glaze Luxe and Lush and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Here, I'm wearing two coats of Luxe and Lush over Essence Grand-Plié in Black with a top coat of Seche Vite. The effect reminds me of a granite coffee table or a flurry of koi swimming in a pond. I thought that Luxe and Lush would be very similar to China Glaze Snow Globe, but I find Luxe and Lush (at least against a black base) to be predominately gold, orange and green, whereas Snow Globe has a wider colour spectrum and is more reminiscent of opal flecks.

Ever since I saw e.l.f. Studio Blush in Pink Passion featured in Tanya Burr's $20 Makeup Challenge video, it's been on my "to buy" list. Pink Passion is an ultra bright, blue-based candy pink. Less is definitely more with this one, you only need the smallest amount as it's relatively easy to go overboard and look clownish. Notwithstanding the unpleasant, faint chemical smell (a problem I have with BYS blushes as well, which I guess are sort of like the Australian equivalent to e.l.f.), the pigmentation is excellent and the powder is quite soft, not chalky or difficult to blend.

The star of the show would have to be the Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection in Comfort Zone (738). Some products can be hyped and disappoint, but when a particular palette is consistently well-loved, there usually has to be good reason. The pigmentation of these eyeshadows is amazing. When I first swatched them, I was thoroughly impressed at how lightly I had dipped my finger in each eyeshadow to get such vibrant colour payoff. They're soft, but not powdery, and easy to blend. My only criticism is the smell. It has this unmistakable, sweet but metallic chemical smell that I can't really describe, but it's extremely off-putting. A couple of the darker colours also lose some vibrancy and are much closer to black when applied to the lid compared to how they look in the pan. Having said that, I adore the second browbone colour, the first crease colour and the second definer colour (the emerald/bronze duochrome is so pronounced and sublime).

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Silent Treatment (335) was another eyeshadow must-have. Forget the browbone and crease colour, this palette is about one thing only: the eyelid colour. It is simply gorgeous. It's what I wanted Maybelline Silken Taupe and various shades in the Too Faced Naked Eye palette to be. It's a purplish light taupe with an almost lavender/silvery shimmer that can be built up in intensity so it looks more brown with an almost pinkish tinge. Perfect as an all-over lid colour, this purple-leaning shade is a welcome change from the usual taupe/bronze eyeshadows that dominate my daily routine.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Seeing Red

Lying in bed on Sunday morning, contemplating whether I need MAC Russian Red, prompted me to make a post about my existing red lipsticks. Because seeing in front of my eyes 6 red lipsticks that I already own and barely use theoretically should discourage me from buying another red lipstick that no doubt, once purchased, I will hardly wear. The funny thing about having too many cosmetics is that you tend to forget the specific products you have, as everything falls under the vague notion there's a lot sitting in your storage at home.

I don't really wear red lipsticks because they're not really my thing. For better or worse (but often worse), I tend to favour pink lipstick, followed by peachy or coral colours. Red always seems to be a little too loud, serious, grown up, in-your-face. I'm just not bold or adventurous enough to wear it in the daytime. Red can make the definitive statement lip, but I don't have that many occasions in my social calendar worthy of glamorous makeup with a red lip as the centrepiece (and by "that many", I mean none).

Nevertheless, I seem to have collected no less than six red lipsticks. (There's actually more in the form of lip gloss, lip stains and products in palettes, for example the vibrant cherry red in Revlon's Multi-Use Palette, but we'll stick with lipsticks for now.)

  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Candy Apple
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Cherry Tart
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Red Velvet
  • Revlon Matte in Strawberry Suede
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in True Red 
  • Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick in 11 

Yeah ... I really like Revlon.

l-r: Candy Apple, Cherry Tart, Red Velvet, Strawberry Suede, True Red, 11

Of these, my favourite is Cherry Tart (lip swatch here), as I find it's the most wearable in terms of sheerness and the colour itself. Candy Apple is basically the warmer and more orange version of Cherry Tart. Red Velvet is absolutely luscious texture-wise (truly buttery, glossy and moisturising on the lips), but too dark and bordering on vampy for everyday wear. On my lips, it's more of a dark, brownish brick red with a bit of burgundy. Sheered out, it makes a typically autumnal shade, a less intimidating reddish wine colour. Strawberry Suede is sadly discontinued (much to the dismay of Lisa Eldridge), but I'm sure it's relatively easy to track down on Ebay or chemists and the like. It's an incredibly vibrant, orange-based, retro red. The ideal bright summer lipstick that instantly lifts the complexion. True Red and Rimmel Lasting Finish in 11 are fairly similar on my lips, the only difference being 11 is darker and more blue-based. True Red is brighter, a touch more orange in tone and slightly sheerer, but only because 11 is so densely pigmented. I was spurred to buy 11 after reading Paula Joye rave about it, and while it's an excellent quality lipstick, it's way too intense for me if applied straight from the tube. But a small amount mixed with lip balm could make a universally flattering red lip. Maybe I don't need Russian Red after all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Purple Ether

Butter London Hen Party is one of the more unique nail polishes I've come across. Apparently it's supposed to be an "opal" shade, but to my eyes it's more a translucent eggshell colour with subtle but distinctive blueish-violet shimmer. The shimmer adds extra dimension and interest, but doesn't seem to tie in with the colour of the base. However, it's understated enough so it's not completely strange. With each coat, the neutral, beige base starts to build in opacity and the shimmer becomes more of a reflective gleam. You essentially get a very manicured and polished look, but with an unexpected twist. I've not tried this as a top coat, but I imagine it would subtly change the colour of whatever polish is under it. What I love about Hen Party is that the layers effortlessly meld together and build to a super smooth, glossy finish. For such a light colour, streakiness was kept to a minimum and wear time was truly impressive (much better than Butter London's glitter polishes, which unfailingly chip on me in 2-3 days). I took these photos when I had worn the polish for the entire week, and there was barely any difference to how it looked freshly applied.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kooky For Korres

My love affair with Korres Lip Butter began when I saw Pomegranate in my friend's makeup bag. I'd never heard of or seen these little pots of buttery lip balm goodness before, and something about the impeccable packaging immediately hooked me. As Sarah Jessica Parker feverishly whispered in her Covet perfume ad, I had to have it. At first the only place that I knew sold them was Mecca Cosmetica at Myer for $18.95 each. If they weren't available anywhere else, I still think they're worth the price, but thankfully I found them on ASOS for a much more palatable $10-$11. Then came an amazing offer on StrawberryNet where a pack of 3 (Pomegranate, Wild Rose and Jasmine) were being sold for around $12. It was never to be repeated, but thankfully I snapped one up in time. There's currently still another Lip Saver set (of Guava, Pomegranate and Mango) on StrawberryNet for a very nice $19.50. Right now, I have all the shades except Quince and Plum. I'm not too keen on Plum, as from swatches I've seen, it very closely resembles Wild Rose, but the collector/hoarder in me really wants Quince to complete my set.

l-r: Guava, Jasmine, Mango, Pomegranate, Wild Rose

l-r (first row, then second row): Jasmine, Mango, Pomegranate, Wild Rose

Pomegranate on cheeks (with NYX Taupe as contour)

Out of the ones I have, I find Jasmine to clearly be the most moisturising and buttery. Pomegranate and Wild Rose, in comparison, are slightly less emollient, though much more pigmented. Guava and Jasmine appear more or less the same on my lips, with Guava having more of a whitish tint and Jasmine more of a pinkish nude. Mango and Pomegranate are also very similar when applied, with Mango more a straightforward orange (like Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti) and Pomegranate more red/coral. Wild Rose is the darkest colour, a blue-toned berry red which for me, is a bit too heavy for daytime wear. I prefer this blotted on my lips, or as a cheek tint.

What I love about these Korres Lip Butters is the darker colours can be substituted for cream blush. I thought I was the only weird one that used them for that purpose, but when I inspected more closely the packaging on the Lip Saver set, there was an actual note on there that they could be used on the cheeks for a natural tint. I've dabbed and blended Pomegranate on the apples of my cheeks to freshen up and add some colour to my face many nights when I've been out but didn't have anything else in my bag. A small amount goes a long way and properly blended in, doesn't feel noticeably sticky or greasy.

Each pot has its own distinctive scent matching its name. Guava reminds me a bit of the scent of preserved plums. Jasmine doesn't really smell like anything particular to me, it's sweet in a milk candy kind of way. Pomegranate is quite tart, but also mellow. Wild Rose is the most unique in that it's neither sweet nor fruity. It has this understated, slightly musky rose scent without being syrupy sweet or artificial.

Bit of trivia. Cameron Diaz uses the Korres Lip Butter while talking to herself in an aeroplane toilet in Knight and Day. I'm sure that couldn't possibly be intentional product placement, so I'm choosing to think that Cameron Diaz had that in her purse and did a bit of improv.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August Favourites

I kept it simple this month, concentrating more on skin care (or what little I know of it) than makeup. While I change up my nail polish sometimes 3-4 times a week, I rarely deviate from my regular face, except in what items I use to achieve more or less the same look (e.g. if I'm going for a cream over a powder eyeshadow, or a pencil over a felt tip eyeliner). A few of these products have been items that I've been consistently using and can always rely on, but that I haven't bothered to specifically feature before in a "Favourites" post.

Apivita Express Beauty Mask With Carrot
I received two sachets from the Priceline skin care bag, and I've used up one in two separate uses (I just sticky-taped the edges to seal the packet after the first use). When I first put this over my face, it stung slightly around the nose and upper lip area. But after a while, the mild stinging subsided and I was left with a calming, slightly minty, soothing feeling. After 15 minutes, the mask had absorbed into the skin considerably, and washed off in warm water relatively easily. My skin felt smooth and supple, properly cleansed. I loved that there was a minty feeling for a while after I'd washed the mask off and lightly moisturised. It gave a slight glow to the complexion and made my skin look smoother, clearer and brighter.

Nivea Soft
I've featured this moisturiser before in the only skin care post I've done on this blog, but this past month has made me realise just how much I appreciate this humble and unassuming product, especially after I'd acquired the elusive and much hyped Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè. I may be missing something, because I find Nivea Soft just as good, if not better. For one, this is like a good drink of water for parched skin. Being winter right now, I've had quite dry skin and it was only after switching to Nivea Soft and using it generously at night that I found the condition of my skin start to improve. It's the best moisturiser for working into small areas of my face that have flaked after applying foundation. It smooths the dry patch over and makes it melt away. I don't know what's not to love. It's cheap, readily available, multifunctional, and actually works. If it had SPF, I'd use it in the day as well.

St Ives Apricot Scrub
I don't know why I didn't buy this earlier, as I had run out of an exfoliator ages ago, but just couldn't be bothered to buy another one. Thank goodness I finally managed to pick this up, because it's been a godsend for my skin. I'm convinced that exfoliating with this every 2-3 days and using Nivea Soft liberally has restored my skin from its dry and blemished state, and made it such that I can actually wear Make Up For Ever HD foundation without it looking like a patchy, flaky disaster.

l-r: Shimmering Slate, Bourjois Liner Feutre, Jemma Kidd, bronze in Sleek Storm, Bad to the Bronze

Savvy by DB Luxury Liner in Shimmering Slate
This brand recently underwent a refresh of their product line, and while I've yet to try any of their newly released items, I'm a big fan of their original Luxury Liners (I have all 6 colours). Shimmering Slate is my go-to eyeliner on the weekend when I don't want to use up my liquid eyeliners that I reserve for the weekdays. I line my upper lashline with this, or dot the lower lashline and then blend with my Ecotools smudge brush (from their 6 piece eye set). It's super creamy, impressively pigmented and doesn't budge.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze
previously complained that though Bad to the Bronze was the clear standout from the five Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadows I'd bought, it was still a touch too frosty for my taste. I take it all back. I've been wearing Bad to the Bronze, darkened up slightly with the bronze in my Sleek Storm palette, every day for the past two weeks. Quick, easy and failproof. The trick is to use a flat and stiff eyeshadow brush to apply it. Too much product, and it can be too shimmery. But a thin layer gives a beautiful taupey bronze sheen that lasts in intensity all day. I've been using the concealer brush from the Ecotools Bamboo 5 piece set and it works like a charm.

Bourjois Liner Feutre in Noir
I love this. It's the closest to an eyeliner HG that I'll probably ever have. I've briefly mentioned it before, but time has only intensified my appreciation of it. I ran out after using it for a few months and had to resort to my Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen which was passable, but definitely inferior. Thankfully, I managed to utilise this Bourjois voucher to replenish my supply for $14 ($10 off its usual price). I find the stiff felt tip a lot easier to control and more precise than pencils, which are always blunt when you need to use them and forever need sharpening, or gel eyeliners, which are fiddly and require an angled eyeliner brush to apply. I also prefer them to liquid eyeliners that have a thin brush, as I find it a lot harder to paint my line when the brush is floppy and soft.

Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Crème in Rose Gold
It's taken me a while to warm to this, but I'm fully converted now. Earlier in the year, I went through a highlighter phase, and the All Over Radiance Crème was firmly at the top of my wishlist. When I first tried it, I wasn't particularly enthused. I was expecting major, J-Lo type of glow to my cheekbones, but I found that it was a lot subtler than I expected. I've come to realise that there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. This month, I've been reaching for this the most out of my entire highlighter collection. It's just a lovely quality product. The texture is so smooth, it's not oily or thick and it looks beautiful over a flawless base.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...