review

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette – A Ray of Light!

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From left to right: Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light.

I bought this at the end of 2013 and it cost me a pretty penny, not because the palette itself is inherently too expensive, but rather, it was difficult to track down before Christmas and the shipping cost was a killer! This palette was limited edition and in the end I bought it from Liberty UK online, I’m not sure if it’s still around but if you can get your paws on it, DO IT! Here’s why:

This is a beautiful mix of Hourglass’s Ambient lighting powders and can be used as a highlight, setting powder and maybe even a slight blush/contour, depending on your skin tone. I use Radiant Light (far right) all over my face with a light touch as a setting powder after foundation and concealer, as it sets my makeup nicely and adds a nice glow (but not shimmery or greasy looking). 

I thought I wouldn’t be able to use Dim Light  or Incandescent Light at all because of my golden skin tone, but they work really nicely as highlighters and, with a light touch, under eye setting powders. 

If you’ve ever wanted to try these powders, this palette is a perfect selection and is worth the bucks! If you can only find them individually, choose which shade will suit your purposes (highlight? setting powder? overall glow?) and go for it, these are amazing!

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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.

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 Empties

Here are my collective hair, beauty, skin care and makeup empties I’ve been hoarding for the last few months – I am relieved I can now all put the containers in recycling. Yay!
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I have a few makeup empties, and as any beauty junkie knows, makeup can be hard to get through on a regular basis even if you are a regular user. I burn through mascaras pretty quickly and lip products slower, but was still able to get through my well-loved Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle.

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L to R: Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle, Maybelline the Falsies Volume Express in waterproof, Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara and Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara. 

My face skin care empties include Neutrogena’s Fresh Foaming cleanser and Paula’s choice toner and moisturiser from her RESIST line. I will rotate between Neutrogena’s cleanser and a Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing cleanser, whichever I have on hand as sometimes I can’t conveniently get my paws on Paula’s choice products straight after I’ve run out of them, and I tend not to buy backups because I’m afraid they’ll spoil before I can get to them. I prefer the RESIST toner and moisturiser over Paula’s other offerings because I find them to effectively moisturise and tone without causing breakouts. Her RESIST line is really remarkable, no matter what age you are and the packaging ensures that the product stays active and effective. Image
L to R: Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner and  Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator

Next are a couple of body wash empties, one from MOR and one from Aveeno. I didn’t find the MOR one incredibly exciting although it had an amazing scent, the pump was horrendous so I replaced it with a pump from a different container which worked better to dispense more product more evenly. The original pump was cheap and crappy and dispensed very little product. The Italian Blood Orange scent was subtle and nice, but I don’t think I’ll repurchase the body wash again. I got in on sale which is why I tried it (and I do like MOR products). The Aveeno body wash is wonderful and I wish I could get it in a bigger size (I’m sure they sell it somewhere?). So moisturising and luxurious yet not obscenely scented (only very slight if any?). It would be my go-to body wash if I could get it in a larger size. Image
L to R: Italian Blood Orange Hand and Body Wash by MOR, Aveeno Daily Moisturising body wash

I clearly have a love affair with Garnier’s Clean Sensitive 2 in 1 Gentle Make-up Remover as demonstrated below 🙂 I love the stuff! It’s affordable and effective and comes in a decent size. I would LOVE if it came in an even bigger size but it works pretty well. It is one of the mix-em-up makeup removers and works very well to take off my waterproof eyemakeup. I tried Maybelline’s Total Clean City Rescue makeup remover which worked quite well too, but just not *as* well as Garnier’s. I tried it because it was on special and I was curious as to how effective it was. It works well but the bottle is too small and overpriced for what you get… but it *does* work.Image
L to R: Garnier Clean Sensitive 2 in 1 Gentle Make-Up Remover (x3!) and Maybelline City Rescue Total Clean Makeup Remover

Finally my haircare empties include the ever famous and well-loved Batiste dry shampoo, a ‘nasties free’ shampoo by giovanni, Dove’s intense repair conditioner and another ‘nasties free’ shampoo by Unite Eurotherapy. By ‘Nasties Free’ I mean, contains no sulphates etc. That doesn’t really bother me too much philosophically and on a practical level I don’t really find much of a difference… I actually feel like the ones that lack the ingredients feel hardly different to the ones with the ingredients that people dislike.  I will forever repurchase the Batiste dry shampoo and I love the Dove conditioner, but the other two are take it or leave it for me and I probably won’t repurchase because they were both pricey and offered nothing special for my hair.Image
L to R: Batiste dry shampoo in Tropical, Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo, Dove Intense Repair shampoo, Unite Eurotherapy Smoothing Shampoo

So there you have it, a whole bunch of collective empties that I can now retire to the recycling bin! What were your latest empties? Do you like reading about empties? I love seeing what people have hoarded and their mini reviews on those products. A great way of finding out what people really think of their products 🙂

Til next time!

Michel Mercier Brush Review

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Firstly, apologies for the poor photo quality… my camera is still MIA. Today I’m posting a review of the Michel Mercier Untangle your day brush, I purchased mine at Priceline here in Australia for $19.99.

I first heard of these brushes in a number of youtube reviews as well as noting the resemblance of the brush to the ever famous tangle teezer. I’ve never tried a brush that was designed specifically for detangling and the only hair device I’ve used to minimise tangling is a wide toothed comb after conditioning my hair in the shower.

These brushes come colour-coded for each hair type they’re designed for. The blue brush shown above, is designed for thick hair, which is my hair type. There is a green brush for normal hair and a pink brush for fine hair. I would have preferred a pink brush colour wise, but I went with the blue as it matched my hair type.

The bristles are made of hard plastic and are all of differing lengths, which is what is claimed to be behind the detangling magic of this brush. You can use it while your hair is wet or dry without the bristles snagging hair while attempting to detangle.

The claims are warranted, in my opinion, they don’t snag on any knots but gently comb them out instead with repeated brushing. I don’t find I shed any more or any less hair using this brush compared to my old traditional bristled brushes and the advantage of this brush is that it doesn’t hurt. 

I’m really not sure how this will clean – there are gaps at the base of each bristle and I’m wondering if I rinse it under water whether water will get trapped within the brush itself which is made primarily (or entirely?) of plastic. 

The design is aesthetically funky and appealing and ergonomically it fits my hand quite well and is easy to brush with. I find that I can’t get deeper knots unfurled without repeated strokes, where normally with a brush with longer bristles I could get to those knots a bit quicker and easier (but with more pain).

Overall I think this is a nice brush, it does what it says but I think it’s overpriced in Australia. I think my method of detangling with a wide toothed comb is better, but I like the versatility of wet or dry using this brush. 

I would recommend you check it out if you are in the market for a new brush, I’m not sure if it will totally wow you but it worked well on my thick and often unruly hair.