21 November, 2014

Hawaii Beauty Buys: The Luxury Edit

I've been very sporadic in my posting lately (if you follow on Twitter then you might know there have been some family health dramas taking up my time and energy) so this is another better late than never post from me.  I'm finally in the mood to get back on with the lighter, more fun side of my life and what better way for a beauty blogger to get happy than photographing lots of new makeup courtesy of a big overseas makeup haul!

I think I left the best of the vacation shopping posts until this last instalment - the best value for money perhaps? I don't know about that because I wasn't comparing the $$ but I do know I had a lot of fun buying all of these products which for the most part are not yet readily available in Australia - until Sephora opens it's doors in Sydney next month anyway! I actually did most of my beauty shopping in Sephora - Yeah baby!!! -  so let's start there! Now why on earth am I channelling Austin Powers?!?...

  • Urban Decay Naked2 Basics - I know the original Urban Decay Naked Basics palette was a bit of a love it or leave it item depending on how colour obsessed you are (I guess?), but being a bit of a neutral girl in my everyday life, I was in the love it category.  The cooler toned option of 2 was on my radar from the moment it was released so I bought this as a 'must have' item for my little UD collection. 
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion - I've used up a couple of sample sized tubes and found it did the job well enough so I basically threw this into my basket!
  • NARS Audacious Lipstick (Grace) - Just look at that black minimalist packaging and of  course the now almost mandatory embossed bullet. After seeing all the buzz on Instagram a NARS Audacious lipstick was also on my wishlist to try because I'm all about high pigment lipstick.  I confess I don't own a NARS blush but now I do own a NARS lipstick! I chose Grace as it's a bright pink coral and very promising as a perfect shade for summer statement lips.
  • Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick Duos (Vivid Violet/Palomino & Neutral Lychee/Musk) -  I've been a fan of the moisturising Luminous Lip Crème formula since buying my first (and only until now) Bite Beauty lipstick last year and these lip duos are a cutely portable, more affordable way of trying other shades from the range. I love how Sephora have all those irresistible little items lined up along the way to the counter for the last minute impulse buys - It's the beauty equivalent of the candy stand at the supermarket checkout!
  • Give Me More Lip - Sephora Favorites - Oh my, I walked around and around this one because the idea of getting 17 new lip products in one hit felt pretty extravagant after all my discipline earlier this year.  Ah well, it's 17 sample sizes and a heap of them are products I'd not tried before but seen raves about (Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear lipstick, Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick are just two worth mentioning) so why not?  It's becoming pretty clear my beauty obsession is leaning a LOT more heavily towards lip colours these days, hmm?
  • Stila Pretty Pick-Me-Ups lip & cheek set - Another on the way to the counter grab!  This little set contains two mini versions of popular Stila products that I didn't have:  the much obsessed about Peony Convertible Color Dual Lip & Cheek Cream and Guava Lip Glaze.  It's taken me a long time to 'get' cream cheek products but now that I do I'm in love with the healthy, youthful glow they give to my middle aged old cheeks and I can't get enough of them!
  • Sephora Outrageous Prisma Chrome mono eye shadow pots - I found these two shades (Outrageous Metallic Grey and Outrageous Metallic Lilac) in the discount bin for $5 each and, being typically indecisive, bought them both! Since getting back from my trip I've read raves about these wet/dry metallic eye shadows so can't understand why they've been discontinued unless it's only these shades? 

And the samples...

After all that shopping I qualified for Sephora Beauty Insider signup so I received my free samples, mini Bare Minerals 5 in 1 cream eye shadow as a points perk and MUFE birthday gift on the spot. Not having regular access to Sephora made this a bit of a big deal for me so it makes me excited for when Sephora expands in Australia and...finally comes to Melbourne.  Hurry up, will you?

Neiman Marcus

I really should say this was the "Tom Ford beauty counter at Neiman Marcus" because that's what I zeroed in on and where I had an impromptu makeover while the SA wooed me with the above products - and the rest, hah! If there was one additional thing I should have bought at the time but didn't was the TF Eye Primer Duo. We decided to go for a hike up to Diamond Head Lookout later in the afternoon and while the rest of my face melted off in the sweaty heat my eye shadow was FLAWLESS! If only I'd had time to get back to that counter.  You know how it is, wise after the fact *sigh*.

So I ended adding these products to my Tom 'freaking' Ford collection:
  • Tom Ford Lip Color (31 Twist of Fate) - This coral lipstick is from TF's Fall 2014 collection and given that we don't get many of the LE releases in Australia I didn't hesitate after trying it on at the counter. It's more subtle than TF's True Coral and looks equally put together yet in a low-key way.
  • Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss (07 Peach Absolut) - The SA used this as a complimentary topper for the lippy and...I don't have any TF glosses in my collection...and this looked perfect...so...yes.
  • Tom Ford Concealing Pen (02 Light Medium) - Being the concealer addict I am I was all up for trying this newish release and it was on my luxe beauty wishlist so I can now check that one off! 

Yes I found this at Macy's! The Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette has been around for some time and I'm a latecomer to exploring the brand per se so...I had that first sniff of the cocoa powder shadows, had a little swatch - these are velvety as opposed to buttery and well pigmented - and was convinced I had to buy me a palette!

After my first use I'm already impressed because the shades build and blend well, and with all of those complimentary colours I was able to create my own look very easily without too much deliberation.  There are three eye makeup looks included in the Chocolate Bar pamphlet but just looking at the palette I can see a multitude of looks in the making.  Lots of playing to be done with the Chocolate Bar and I can understand the raves it gets.

Well that's enough shopping for now perhaps?

If you'd like any more detailed reviews or swatches please let me know in the comments!

11 November, 2014

October's farewelled products

Yes I'm late again and I'm mildly freaking out because as I write my October empties post my bag's already filling up with NOVEMBER empties! No more time to waste then - let's get into it!
Skin care
107) Olay Fresh Effects Refreshing Make-up Removal Cloths (20 cloths) - I think these were my only skin care purchase overseas, because makeup wipes were the only thing I ran out of!  I liked the fresh scent and they did a reasonable job of removing light makeup at the end of a long day.  I've no need to either rant or rave about them and I'll stop right here because the Fresh Effects wipes aren't available in Australia.
108) Maybelline Makeup Remover Eye & Lip (70ml/2.4 fl. oz.) - I bought this again for travel because it's the smallest bottle out there.  It does a good enough job for a drugstore makeup remover (gentle but effective on waterproof makeup, blah, blah, blah...) so I'm sure I'll buy some more in future.

109) La Clinica White Brilliant Intensive Correction Hydrating Night Cream (10ml/0.35 fl.oz)* - I found a sample tube in my drawer to finish up.  See last month's post for my thoughts on this.
110) La Clinica Gly C Refine Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub (100ml/3.52 fl.oz)* -  I'm a fan of this facial exfoliant and I'm onto a second tube because it smoothes my skin without any irritation.  See my full review here.

111) Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil - A luxury indulgence I spent my birthday $$$ on last year and I made it stretch for months because I used it as an occasional overnight lip treatment.  It was superbly effective as a lip moisturiser although I don't know whether it is quite as effective an anti-aging product as it claims (perhaps because I didn't use it night after night).  Still, I'd probably buy this again as a luxury treat because I'm not over my love affair with all things Hourglass!
Hand and body care
112) Palmer's Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Body Wash (400ml/13.5 fl.oz)* - For those of you who are chocolate freaks like me you might appreciate the fact this smells like you're washing yourself in hot chocolate - if you're not then, well, you get what I'm saying.  This was fabulously creamy and foamy and I loved using it particularly in the depths of winter.
113) ECO. Body Women's Personal Body Wash (100ml)* -  I used this fresh herbal scented, antibacterial body wash as a post workout pick me up.  See here for my full review.

114) Dirty Works Supreme Cream Body Butter (300ml)* -  If I didn't have the massive stash of body butters that currently lurk in my bathroom cupboard I'd buy another tub of this tomorrow because I was hooked on the salty sea air scent and the tub lasted for ages - of course it did a decent job of moisturising too.  This is a summer holiday in a tub of body butter I tell you!  Read my full review here.
115) Natio AUM Purifying Body Scrub (150ml/5.1 fl.oz) - Usually I love everything from Natio but this product was equal parts enjoyable and frustrating.  The creamy formula was one of the most moisturising body exfoliants I've tried but the irregular shaped granules were impossible to squeeze out of the tube.  I had to twist off the base just about every time - that 'convenient' flip top lid was just for show! It was too annoying for me and I'll probably stay away for that reason alone.

116) Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Lotion (75ml travel size) -  I'm pretty sure this is the last of my travel empties! I enjoy that age old Nivea scent but this lotion took a lot of rubbing in before the milky film disappeared into the skin.  Maybe I'm just getting too impatient but I want that happy balance of a rich moisturiser that absorbs quickly and this one wasn't quite quick enough for me.

117) Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Therapy (25g/0.9.oz) - This is yet another wonderfully rich hand cream from my C & E stash.  Silky and easily absorbed.
118) OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover (30ml/1 fl.oz) - I bought this mini bottle when I couldn't find the full sized version at the store.  At the risk of repeating myself like a sound loop, this formula is my favourite from the OPI range.
119) L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Hand Cream (30ml/1oz) - This hand cream was heavier on fragrance but lighter on moisture, with a more watery texture than I've come to expect from L'Occitane.  I found it okay - and it would be perfectly fine for normal skin - but my dry hands need a richer formula for more lasting hydration.

Okay...Now I'm ready to take on that Sephora haul post!
 (Products marked * were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

05 November, 2014

Canmake Colorful Nails: 10 Lavender Milk

My latest nail post features a feminine pastel from Japanese polish brand Canmake, and one of only two nail polishes I bought in Japan.  I saw so many more I could have bought - particularly from the Canmake line because they have such a pretty selection including glitter versions - but I was more focused on makeup this time, and for whatever reason I'm just not as nail obsessed at the moment.  Plus, it's amazing how much those little buggers weigh when you start accumulating them in your luggage!
Lavender Milk is an apt name for this lovely pastel polish so I'm not going to try and top it with my spin on it - milky lavender it definitely is.  Two coats applied perfectly smoothly, with no streaking or flooding at all.  Drawn as I am to purple throughout the entire spectrum, if I had to choose my one favourite pastel shade this would be right up there as somehow lavender seems to be pretty without being too overtly girly - if you know what I mean.
All pictures taken in indirect daylight:
That's it for now :)

31 October, 2014

Hawaii Beauty Buys: The Drugstore Edit

All of my Australian readers will know that drugstore shopping is disproportionately expensive down here (which was one of the reasons I was on a drugstore ban during my beauty diet, knowing that I would be going to the US this year). Okay...so fast forward to Hawaii, USA where everything suddenly becomes so much more affordable! My Hawaii trip wasn't quite the laidback beach bum experience I was expecting - it was more of a whirlwind trying to squeeze in all the sightseeing as my husband shared some memories of his past trips - so all of my drugstore beauty shopping was crammed into a single trip to Walgreens and a couple of visits to the corner ABC store.  Now, the corner ABC store is a literal concept as ABC stores seem to be on every corner, sometimes even on opposite corners in Waikiki but I digress.  I'm here to talk about the makeup!

Onto the Walgreens expedition first - I filled my basket with items from Wet n Wild, L'Oreal, Covergirl and NYX, plus some Halloween candies for a grand total of 55 USD!  Aussie girls will know that's a pretty good deal...
Wet n Wild

  • Wet n Wild Color Icon Eye Shadow Trio (Silent Treatment) - I have a much loved little collection of these trios and I've long been after Silent Treatment.  Wonderful Larie shipped one out to me last year but the taupe eyelid shade sadly crumbled during the long trip from Seattle so I grabbed another as soon as I saw it! You can the see the super soft taupe has started to crumble again so I will have to baby this little palette. 
  • Wet n Wild Color Icon Eye Shadow Palette (Floral Values) - I seen mixed reviews on these newish quint palettes but at $3.99 (a quint for $3.99?!) I was prepared to take the risk because I love the spring appropriate shades.

  • L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow (Eternal Sunshine) - These babies sell at around $19.95 each in Australia so at 8.49 USD this was a bargain.  I could have chosen more than the golden Eternal Sunshine but had a feeling of déjà vu about some of the shades - the names were different but they looked like what I have at home so I resisted.
  • L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Waterproof Mascara (Black) - I bought this because waterproof mascara I'd packed had dried out during the trip.  I love the soft, flexy brush but the mascara formula hasn't completely wowed me.  It's a reliable waterproof formula but I'm not getting those feathery doll-like lashes I thought I would!

I spotted some interesting nail polish shades in the Covergirl display that I haven't seen in Australia so I chose from left to right:  Salt Water Taffy, Seared Bronze, and Inferno. 

  • NYX Mosaic Powder Blush (Rosey) - I love my Plummy Mosaic Powder Blush a lot so I decided on warm pink toned Rosey for a spring/summer version.
  • NYX Matte Lipstick (Shocking Pink) - It's so hard to choose lipstick when there aren't any testers so I chose just one of these lipsticks to try because I've heard great things about them.  At 5.99USD compared to 12.99AUD I sort of wish I'd bought more shades.  Since researching the shades and swatches on Pinterest I wish I'd added Indie Flick (orange-red) to my basket too.


Onto the ABC store...
As I said ABC stores are everywhere - and they sell pretty much everything too from food and drinks, clothes, souvenirs and of course cosmetics including the local nail polish brand Island Girl.

Island Girl

  • Island Girl Nail Color - I was so disciplined around nail polish this trip!  I kept my selections down to just two shades:  Island Paradise (mid tone neon purple) and Mahalo Color (neon pink).   
  • Island Girl Scented Cuticle Oil Mini Pack - The teeny bottles filled with natural dried flowers were too cute to pass up!
I have one last instalment to go and then I'm done.  Be warned I did get a little carried away in Sephora...

29 October, 2014

Maybelline Brocades: Beaming Blue

I've been noticing a lot of teal and aquatic blue nails around this spring - in my office of all places! - so I jumped onto the bandwagon with a glittery aquatic blue from Maybelline's LE Brocades collection.  The Brocades were released late last year and while no longer on the shelves you can still find them selling on some online pharmacy and retail sites if you're keen.
Beaming Blue is a very dense, textured blue/gold micro-glitter polish with a light smattering of larger blue hex glitter.  The effect is almost like shot silk as the colour subtly shifts from blue to gold in the light in a kind of faux gradient.  Two coats was all it took for 100% opaque nails and I left it as is with no topcoat.  That decision turned out to be a mistake because the polish did chip off in ghastly chunks again - topcoat really is recommended for durability when wearing these.  At least it was sparkly perfection for a few days anyway...
All pictures taken in indirect daylight

What colour statements do you like to make in spring?


28 October, 2014

Japan Trip Beauty Buys: The Luxury Edit

This is a mix of impractical pretties I bought while venturing through department store beauty halls and boutiques in Japan...
Anna Sui

 Once upon a time I could buy Anna Sui down here in Melbourne and when it was here, right under my nose I took it for granted so didn't actually buy anything!  Of course for me there's nothing more alluring than something that's hard to get so the appeal went up after the availability became limited. Oh alright - the antique boudoir style packaging is appealing too, so that coupled with Anna Sui's amazing looking blushes and recent lipstick release had me on the lookout for this brand in Japan.
Let's start with the blush...
Rose Cheek Color

Anna Sui's Rose Cheek Color powder blushes are all so opulent with their floral embossed, multi-tonal combinations so it was a difficult decision here!  I was initially drawn to the pink palettes (and there are quite a few if you're a pink blush fan) but ended up going for the most practical choice for my colouring, the golden coral/peach 602. Yes, I do intend to get right in there with my brush and swirl away - I'm going to wear it - after I'm done with gawping at it! Lol!

Lipstick V
Oh, puh-lease! I first saw the star shaped bullets of Anna Sui's Lipstick V range on Pinterest a few months ago and was instantly obsessed with getting my hands on one because, I mean, a star shaped bullet?!  Things like that just bring out the little girl in me I suppose.  Shade 401 is a sheer blue-toned red. Maybe I'll need a little more time before I damage this by daring to use it. 
To set the lipstick colour I also purchased a tube of Anna Sui Lip Color Top Coat, which is dabbed over lipstick to seal it.  I've heard of lipstick top coats before but haven't actually tried them and the SA's demonstration was persuasive so we'll see!
 Rose Ring Rouge
I won't even try and justify this purchase! Anna Sui Rose Ring Rouge 300 is an insanely obnoxious deep purple poison ring with pink gloss encased within.  Maybe I could wear it for Halloween?!? That said, the gloss itself is quite wearable although I don't know if I'd have the balls to wear such bling on my fingers so into my makeup purse it will go.
 Nail Color
The SA was wearing Anna Sui Nail Color 003 and I couldn't stop looking at her nails! I can't say any more about that choice other than it was me giving in to my weakness for glitter.
Jill Stuart
I have a longstanding weakness for Jill Stuart too and I was very restrained considering that little fact! I chose only one item, a Velvet Crystal Eyes palette in the very wearable neutral 103 Moonlight Invitation from Jill Stuart's Limited Edition Crystal Black Fall 2014 Collection
I'm not too sure about the tarnished looking Crystal Black packaging but in terms of actual shades I'd say this is the most practical Jill Stuart quad I own.  The shimmery peach and warm taupe are bookended by two matte shades (ivory and deep brown) so I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it. 
Paul & Joe
I know Paul & Joe is actually a French brand but seeing as we don't have any counters in Melbourne, once I started to play with the bright lipstick shades and the endless possibilities of matching the refillable cases in all of their cuteness I was hooked! Besides, I can't go past kitties!!! 
Frivolous? Yes!!!
My lipstick refill choices were medium pink 212 Rose Sachet (in lipstick case 017) and orange red 303 Silk Stockings (in that cute kitty case 022), both perfect for Spring/Summer when I particularly love wearing vibrant shades - although I'd wear them all year round really.  I'm curious as to how durable the cases will actually be and whether they really would stand up to the test of time and be in any condition to warrant a refill.  Only time will tell with that I suppose.
 Eye Color Trio Refill 093
Again I went for the most wearable option choosing the warm plum trio 093 popped into floral compact 004.  As I say, purple is my other 'neutral' choice for my green eyes so this was an obvious choice for me. The individual shades swatch creamily smooth on my fingertips so I'm looking forward to my first wear.
 So that's all of my Japanese beauty shopping - as always let me know in the comments if you're interested in any individual product reviews or swatches.
Until next time,

22 October, 2014

Revlon: Timeless

Here I am sneaking back with a quick manicure post to fill the gap before I get into the next Japanese beauty haul instalment.  I've been extra busy at work lately, putting in some extra hours at the office so I've been a bit tired and lazy about posting - Sorry! This too shall pass and the routine should resume soon...
Okay so this post features a discount bin find from earlier this year.  Revlon seems to have discontinued this timeless grey cream, not surprisingly called Timeless (what else?) which is a real shame because it is the perfect soft dove grey.  I adore the colour but...the formula was another let down with those dreaded bubbles appearing a few minutes after I'd finished applying.  I remember a time when the classic Revlon formula was a winner so what happened? Oh the frustration.
This is two coats with top coat, photographed in natural indirect daylight:
If you know of a dupe for this - which doesn't bubble and is still available - then please share in the comments!
Until my next haul post :)

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