Australia

Face of Australia – Small haul and mini review

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Face of Australia is an Australian drugstore brand that was on sale at Big W a couple of days ago, and they are already products that I was  intensely curious about, so I decided to pick up a small selection. I got the Budge Proof Eyeshadows from top to bottom in Poison Ivy, Violet Days and Midnight Sky. I picked up one blush in Primrose, and 4 lasting looks lip cremes in (from left to right) Many Moons, For-red-er, Rubies and Love Berry.

Budge Proof Eyeshadows

These were on sale for just over $5 each, and are a creme to powder long lasting eye shadow, budge proof, so they claimed. They were cheaper than the Maybelline Color Tattoos, but definitely do not perform as well. They have a sheer, powdery texture and come off quite blotchy when applying as a swatch or on the lids. The best performer was Poison Ivy, the deep green colour, which has flecks of glitter but is quite powdery when applied. They budged from my lid pretty quickly unfortunately, making their name completely inaccurate! It’s a product that you can *make* work, but it takes a bit of effort, which is a shame, because in the pots the colours are really seductive and pretty, but on application, pretty disappointing. I’m glad I only got these on sale!

Blush

I only got one shade of blush in Primrose and it swatched very sheer and slightly powdery on my arm. Fortunately, when I applied it on my cheeks, it was sheer but buildable and had good colour payoff. It didn’t feel or look cakey after building up the colour a bit, and the pink is quite a cool but natural shade, and is quite pretty on the face. A nice blush, not a massive standout, but nice overall.

ImageFrom left to right: Poison Ivy, Violet Days and Midnight Sky, plus a swatch of the blush in Primrose.

ImageFrom left to right: Many Moons, For-red-er, Rubies and Love Berry.

Lasting Looks Lip Cremes

Wow. These are impressive drugstore lipsticks! I had not heard or read about these lipsticks and stumbled upon them in my local K-Mart and bought one shade, close to my own lip colour, Many Moons. Many Moons is a mauve-y ‘my lips but better’ shade with a nice natural sheen. I was impressed by the sleek packaging, the creamy texture, the long wear time, the colours and the LACK OF TASTE! Yay! FINALLY a drugstore lipstick that had low scent and nearly no taste whatsoever. I absolutely *hate* the ‘lipstick’ taste of all lipsticks, I think drugstore lipsticks in particular can have a very strong plastic-based lipstick taste and I particularly find that is the case with Covergirl and Maybelline lipsticks. As much as I love the big name drugstore lipsticks, I am always put off by any sort of taste.

All of the shades I picked up are creamy, opaque, long lasting and are very flattering colours. There’s no glitter in the product and they feel very moisturising and have good wear time. These are my favourite lip products, to date, and I hope they don’t discontinue them!

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Overall I was happy with the products, but let down by the eyeshadows. I would definitely try more lip products from this brand, or at least expand my selection of lip cremes. I think they’re divine. I’m not really sure what is happening with this brand as it’s only a small drugstore Australian brand and while I think it’s been around for a while, I’m not sure if the sale is indicative of a discontinuation or not. I don’t know how popular it is online, but I don’t see much written about it, which is a shame in the case of the lip products as they are very impressive. At the time of writing this, I was unable to access the website (it was down? or had some weird error message) and saw they could only be purchased online via Priceline Australia’s website. I have seen Face of Australia in-store at Big W, K-Mart and Priceline in Australia, if you’re curious about this brand.

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Bella Box September 2013 – First Impressions

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L to R: Bioderma Purifying Foaming Gel, Toni & Guy Creative Texturising Glue, La Clinica Rebalancing Vitamin A Eye Cream La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel for Oily Sensitive Skin, L’Oreal Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer & Model Co Cheek + Lip Tint in Rosy Red

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I was sent a sample Bella Box after someone contacted me via Makeupalley for my consideration. I have never subscribed to any sort of beauty / cosmetics box, but I have heard of Bella Box and others that cater for the Australian market and also the American / International equivalents. The idea of paying a fixed fee ($15.00 + free shipping for Bella Box) per month to try free beauty products is a good one, but the risk is you might get a box full of products that may not be interesting, although it seems that they cater the products in the box to your skin type (at least they seemed to match my makeupalley skin type to products they included in this sample box which was nice).

In this box I received 4 skin care samples, 1 makeup sample and 1 hair sample. The hair sample, Tony & Guy’s Texturising Glue, was the biggest sample at a whopping 100mL or 3.56 Oz, which is a mega sized sample! The smallest sample was the L’Oreal Base Magique primer, at 5mL. In total there were 6 samples included in this box, with the majority being skin care samples.

Unfortunately, I already have a very set skin care routine, so the skin care samples didn’t really excite me, and they make up the majority of the samples given. I have begun to sample the La Roche Posay cleanser and vitamin A Eye cream but haven’t yet formed an opinion on them, I also quickly tried the Model Co Cheek + Lips product and don’t like it very much, but I’ll give it a bit more time.

I’ll follow up with a meatier review post once I’ve given all the products a good try. Overall I think it’s a good concept but you do have to play a bit of a beauty sample lottery given the samples you receive may not be exactly what you expect or want. I think it’s a good range of different brands, both international and local, and the sample sizes are decent, especially if you consistently get a large sample like the texturising glue that was included in this box. If you play with beauty, hair and makeup a LOT and like to switch your products around and try out lots of different things, this could be a solution for your beauty cravings, but personally I already have a set skin care routine and don’t experiment with haircare that much. I would only be interested in subscribing to a makeup-only beauty box if there was one that catered to the Australian market, as cosmetics are the products I like to play around and switch up the most.

Have you tried Bella Box or any other beauty boxes? What are your thoughts / impressions on subscription based  sample boxes?

Collective Haul & Mini Reviews

Here is a collective haul that I’ve acquired over the last few weeks, I wish I could do a massive haul but I’m just not that loaded 😛 I’m pretty picky and I like to watch and read reviews online before I spend my hard earned cash on a product, and most of the time it works out well, but other times I can still buy a product with as much knowledge as possible and be disappointed/hate it. There aren’t products here I *hate* but I’m not 100% happy with my small collective haul, but not for major reasons at least. Here you go!

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Laquer in Stellar, Solstice and Apocalyptic

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I am a complete SUCKER for the packaging! Man it’s funky looking, geometric and has an awesome little feature that allows you to see if the packaging has ever been opened (a clear window which should remain clear if it has been unopened and will fill up with product once opened). So pretty on the outside and these 3 shades are very pretty on the inside too, however, don’t make the mistake of thinking they are the be all and end all of lip products, because, they aren’t. They look like they SHOULD be, and perhaps with a reformulation that includes a longer wear time down the track, these could be a perfect lip product for those going for a lipstick/gloss combo. There are a lot of reviews online that say these are a liquid lipstick more than anything, and I would agree for the most part and add in that they stain quite well, but they do tend to fade from the middle and outwards, so you can be left with that horrid ‘white patch’ of lip if you don’t do touchups. They won’t last that well if you’re drinking or eating (not without reapplication) but they are pretty and I, personally, love them.

BYS Lipliner Pencil in 13 Natural

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I purchased this very inexpensive lipliner at a local discount store here in Australia (The Reject Shop) because I have been very curious but a little skeptical about the quality of the products from this brand. There are mixed reviews about the BYS nailpolishes and I see them being sold in the discount department stores quite often, but I feel like if they’re not going to be good quality (I love the Ulta3 polishes; good quality and cheap!) then no matter how little I spend, I’m not going to want to try it. I’ve seen swatches of the eyeshadows online and not been impressed at all (chalky, not pigmented) and why try a crappy cheap product when I can get my mitts on AMAZING cheap products like Wet’n’Wild and Milani offer.

This lipliner, however, seemed less risky to me – I don’t have many problems with my lips, they’re not dry or chapped and when they are it’s not so bad and my ails can be cured with lipbalm. It was inexpensive, at around the $2-$3 mark, and available. It was very much an impulse purchase, but I had wanted to try the brand for a while, so I figured this was a low risk product to sample.

The pencil is quite hard. The color is very pigmented and doesn’t come off chalky, but like I said, the texture is hard, so will require a significant amount of warming up if you’ve got lip chapping problems of the sort. I wore this as a base all over my lips underneath several different nude lipsticks and the liner definitely helped to keep the lipstick to wear longer. I did line my lips with this particular colour and it is a great ‘my lips but better’ colour match for me.

If you happen across this product in your local discount store (Australian peeps), I suggest its worth a try if you’re ok with warming up the product and want an inexpensive but effective lip liner. If, however, you have lip issues, give it a miss and spend a few extra dollars on a softer lip liner.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara

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This will be more of a ‘first impressions’ kind of write up about this mascara, because I haven’t had it for very long and have used it only a couple of times in the short time it’s been with me. So far my impression is: meh. It adds a bit of length and separates adequately, but no more or less than any other drugstore mascara I’ve tried. There’s no volume at all, which sucks, but I can see people liking this for the lash lengthening qualities, which will happen after the second or third coat. I find that this actually weighs down my lashes somewhat and will fade and smudge over a short period of time, but a little less than other drugstore mascaras I’ve got in my stash. I have oily eyelids and small, almond shaped hooded eyes, so nothing really lasts on my eyelashes unfortunately. I’m not wowed by this mascara so far because it doesn’t offer anything more than the ones I currently have in rotation. I think I need to give it another couple of weeks to fully form my opinion (solidly).

Rimmel Wake me up foundation in Bronze

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So. SPARKLY! Woah. I swatched this on my hand in the store with the intention of walking out into the sunlight and having a look at the colour match and when I did so, all I saw was sparkles! I was very put off by that at first, but the good reviews on youtube were far too seductive, so I bought a bottle in bronze to try for myself. And yes, there is sparkle, but it seems by some magic that despite this, your face doesn’t look like the glitter ball I expected it to look like (do hands reflect more sparkle or something??) and was pleasantly surprised by this foundation. It has light to medium coverage on my blemished skin, but can be built up quite nicely and doesn’t require a butt-tonne of product to do so. It feels very light on the skin and has a pleasant faintly floral scent. Blends easily with a brush and or fingers, so it depends on personal preference as to how you want to apply this. Personally, it depends on how lazy I am, but will do well both ways. The colour matched pretty well too, which is an achievement for me as drugstore foundations usually lean far too pink on my yellow-based skin tone. Winning!

Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in Electric Blue and Inked in Pink 

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These have finally made their way over to our sunny shores, and the hype is worth it. I wanted to get my greedy little paws on ‘Barely Branded’ but every store I seeked them from was completely sold out *Hmpf* Nevermind, I’ll acquire that shade eventually. These two are really nice, metallic as the name suggests but not overly shimmery and great to use as a base for a similar toned shadow. They do look nice on their own and swatch solidly, although inked in pink looks a bit cray on me by itself, so I use it as a base for a warmer, pinky/orangey shadow, and that works splendidly. I loved the original color tattoos and these are no exception. I can’t wait to get my hands on Barely Branded when they’re restocked.

Revlon Nail Art in Moon Candy

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I saw these at half price at a local discount drugstore and have always been intrigued by the lovely colours and holographic/shiny/glitteriness that they promise. Simply whack on a fairly plain looking base coat colour and the shiny magical unicorn pink glitter stuff on the top and it promises to look completely galactical. And to a point, Revlon did it right, the base colour applies nice and smooth and solid in a couple of coats. The glittery topcoat however, is less magical, and the one I picked up was fairly runny and took around 4 coats to get any sort of nice shiny action going on. I had to make sure my nails dried fully before finally applying a topcoat, which took forever since there were so many coats of goop on my nails. Eventually, they dried and I applied a topcoat and I was pretty wowed. My nails were so glamorous looking and glittery and edgy like I see in so many people’s instagram photos. Pity that the delight and prettiness only lasted a night, as the next day they chipped like no other. Sigh. This may be a love affair for some, but for me, it was a short one.

So there you have it! Hope it helped somewhat and I look forward to reading about all your recent hauls and adventures!

Til next time x

My favourite eyeshadow palettes

Thought I’d share a few of my favourite eyeshadow palettes. I don’t have a butt-tonne, but I think with the right selection, you don’t necessarily need a gazillion palettes. I think a carefully edited collection of shadows will see you through for a while, and with tight purse strings, I don’t have a choice anyway.

Now, I know everyone and their grandmother has posted about the Urban Decay Naked and Wet N Wild palettes, and unfortunately I’m going to have to jump on that bandwagon too – they’re just too good not to mention. These three palettes, from top left to right, Urban Decay’s Naked 2 and Naked 1, and the Comfort Palette from Wet N Wild, are my staples for a neutral eye look. Image

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I bought my Naked Palettes online from beautybay.com and the Wet N Wild palette from E-Bay, and they are some of my best beauty buys EVER. If you can only buy one palette of neutral eyeshadows, pick one of the Naked palettes, or the comfort zone palette for a more limited selection of neutrals.

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You know a palette is well loved when it looks nice and worn!

My next palette of choice is the Rockstar palette by The Balm. This palette contains a mix of eyeshadows leaning on the neutral / neutral darks and all of the shadows are named with a musical pun based on bands/artists/musical terms. Super cute. The rave reviews regarding the balm shadows are warranted – the shadows are buttery and pigmented, fall out is minimal and the pricing is fairly good for the amount and array of eyeshadows you get in this palette. Included in the mix is also a blush, highlight and two lip cremes which also perform quite well. I bought this palette at David Jones, a department store here in Australia. The price of this palette is significantly higher here than the original U.S. Retail price, but even at the inflated cost, I think it is well worth it for what you’re given.

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Excuse the obnoxious finger prints in the lip cremes above! I try to use a lip brush when I can, but sometimes I err on the side of laziness and just use (clean) fingers.

So, that’s pretty much it for my *favourite* eyeshadow palettes in my collection, but I have a few honourable mentions that are worth mentioning.

A couple of Australis palettes and a Chi Chi Eyeshadow palette. All fairly neutral but have a little bit of sparkle, nothing over the top though.

Australis Paparazzi Perfect High Definition Eyeshadow Palette:

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Below: ‘Totally Busted’, a selection of champagne, purple, pink, grey and white slightly creamy slightly powdery (I would say the consistency is 50/50 of both) with a slight shimmer. Works well over a base of a similar tone/colour, but fades over the day without one.Image

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Here we have the same brand and eyeshadow type in ‘Snap Attack’. A selection of taupe greys and browns with a highlight and a brown-based champagne colour. Again, works well on top of a similarly coloured base or a primer rather than alone. Easily blended and very affordable.Image

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Lastly, a neutral Chi Chi eyeshadow palette in ‘Basic Instinct’:Image

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Six medium dark neutrals that aren’t as pigmented as the previous palettes and do apply a bit powdery but work well over a primer or a base and offer a good budget friendly alternative to Urban Decay or The Balm (or any other mid to high end shadow). There is some fallout when applying these, but nothing that can’t easily be cleaned up with a makeup wipe, or by simply applying your foundation/concealer last. I purchased the Australis and Chi Chi palettes at Priceline (drugstore/pharmacy).

So there you go, my favourite eyeshadow palettes, mostly neutral because I think it’s impractical for me to have a huge range of too colourful shadows (that won’t be used in the end).

Target mini haul – beauty bargains

My local Target is having a clear out of some beauty products and I bagged a mini (well, micro!) beauty haul as a result. I got:

  • L’Oreal Color Riche Nail Polish in 306: Sex on the peach – RRP $6.95AUD Down to $3.83AUD
  • L’Oreal Color Riche Nail Polish in 618: Santorini Lagoon – RRP $6.95AUD Down to $3.83AUD
  • Maybelline The Turbo Volume Express Waterproof Mascara – RRP $19.25AUD Down to $9.83AUD
  • Cosmetica Retractable Lip Brush – RRP Not sure! Down to $4.83
  • Australis Totes Smokin’ Eyeshadow Palette (8 shadows) – RRP Not sure! Down to $4.83 (BARGAIN!)

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The bargain bin can be an iffy place to navigate, full of broken or opened cosmetics and an array of seemingly unflattering colour choices, but today I think there were genuinely good buys in the mix… you did have to sort through some of the piles, but overall there were good deals and not too many damaged products polluting the assortment of actual bargains. I say ‘actual’ because I know Australia’s cosmetics and beauty prices are exorbitant in the bricks and mortar stores, compared to what you can find online, but I was happy with a $5 eyeshadow palette and polishes that were nearly half price (and close to the actual U.S. RRP).

Don’t be afraid to dive into the bargain bin, especially in this retail climate – there are some genuine good buys to be had 🙂