28 February, 2015

Island Girl Nail Color: Mahalo Color

Being the last day of summer down here in Melbourne I have no choice but to post the most summery nail swatch I can find!
When I was in Hawaii last year I finally came face to face with the Island Girl range of polishes and despite the vast array of summery colours I was uncharacteristically disciplined and only chose two.  For whatever reason I was suffering nail polish fatigue but these things happen.  In any case...
Mahalo Girl is one of those obvious picks for a beachside mani or pedi as it's a neon watermelon pink and instantly sets off or gives the impression of a tan.  While some neon polishes can be quite sheer and demand a white polish base this polish was as opaque as the average non-neon variety so I got away with two coats for complete coverage.  If only I knew that back in Hawaii I may have reconsidered my conservative shopping and grabbed a few more! An excuse for a return visit perhaps? *winks* 
Is there anything you regret not buying on holiday?

25 February, 2015

My (eclectic) MAC lipstick collection...

This post has been sitting around patiently, waiting to be written for so long that I've literally finished one of my MAC lipsticks in the meantime!  It's just that combination of being busy, feeling obliged to do PR posts first (beauty blogger problems clearly!) AND suffering three internet outages in as many weeks, but now I finally have that window of opportunity to do one of my just for fun posts. 
Let me open up my MAC lipstick wardrobe and share - I love reading other people's lipstick posts (lipstick is my other obsession besides nails) so this was definitely fun to do!  It did actually serve another, "practical" purpose too because I was well and truly ready for a Back 2 MAC lipstick so I wanted to do a bit of a colour inventory first and see where the gap is in my own collection.  Read on and you shall see!


I'll start with classic reds because that's where my MAC obsession started all those years ago - as you might have spotted in the picture one of these is very old too (original packaging!) but I've been keeping it for sentimental value and because it - amazingly - hasn't gone bad otherwise it would be going Back 2 MAC for sure! I'm going to list everything throughout the post from left to right so here we go...
  • Lady Danger (Matte) - Described by MAC as a vivid bright coral-red.  I've been fixated with orangey reds over the past year and this was my most recent addition to my MAC family by way of Back 2 MAC actually! It's screechingly bright to the point I have to be feeling confident to wear it but it adds confidence once it's on so it's worth that first step.  While some of my MAC matte lipsticks are dry and apply with a lot of dragging across the lips Lady Danger positively glides on in one swipe.
  • RiRi Woo (Matte) - Matte cool red with a retro matte finish.  Now this one literally is a drag unfortunately so it needs the help of balm to get it onto my lips without tearing them up. I love the blue red but it doesn't love me back.  I've hung onto this lipstick mostly because of the rose gold limited edition packaging.
  • Russian Red (Matte) - I'm not sure what the official shade description is but to me this is probably the truest red lipstick in my entire lipstick collection! It's obviously old judging by the packaging and I've only worn it a couple of times a year on average because again it's a serious red and unfortunately that powdery matte formula dries out my lips.
  • Dubonnet (Amplified) - The deepest red in my MAC collection and my favourite of the four.  This is brownish slightly vampy red which adds impact in a more toned down way than my brighter shades.  Being a fan of the Amplified formula I love how this piles on the colour in a single swipe and has a slight creamy sheen. Best of all it's the one red which doesn't dry out my lips! Without sounding depressing Dubonnet is the perfect austere red for autumn and winter in Melbourne when I wear my black clothes in all their glory.
Now for some rather messy swatches in the same order as above!


One of these nudes has literally been worn to death since I took these pictures because I loved it to death...
  • Peach Blossom (Cremesheen) - A soft pink-nude with a shiny finish.  I've been enjoying this as my nude of choice over the summer because it's a swipe and go kind of colour.  Cremesheens are up there as being one of my favourite finishes in the MAC family for their shiny formula but for one significant drawback:  a lot of mine have snapped at the stub.
  • Modesty (Cremesheen) - This was the nude lipstick I loved to death and finished off.  The mauve-nude tone perfectly emulated and embellished my natural lip colour so it was the 'my lips but better' lipstick of choice and I can definitely see it being repurchased.  Despite being a Cremesheen the bullet held fast without snapping so that's another reason it was/is a favourite. 
  • Brave (Satin) - This is the 'other' Modesty if you like as it has a very similar, ever so slightly more mauve nude tone and is my current MLBB choice.  Being a satin it can look a bit flat and lifeless on my lips worn on its own so I prefer to top it with a bit of gloss. I've just been reading this is one of the shades for the Kylie Jenner lip if you're into that look although I bought this lipstick a couple of years before the craze.  Apparently I was ahead of the trend!
  • Plastique (Frost) - Caramel frost.  I bought this one more than a couple of years ago and it only comes out to play as a topper these days because it's just a little too beigey on its own.  I'm considering putting this lipstick in my Back 2 MAC pile.
The swatches:

 Pink & Purples
This is a bit of a motley grouping of colours but close enough for me...
  • Impassioned (Amplified) - Described by MAC as a bright warm pink this - HOT coral pink in my words - is the most screamingly bright MAC lipstick in my collection hands down!!!  I jumped on the bandwagon with this one when it felt like everyone was raving about it.  Honestly whenever I wear this statement shade my lips enter the room before I do! I really need to pluck up every ounce of courage to put it on - although right now I can feel my little inner voice daring me to again!
  • Up The Amp (Amplified) - The official description for this shade is lavender violet - a pinkish purple!  I don't shy away from purple because it works with my complexion, whitens my teeth and it's an unexpected alternative to pink.  I've worn this lippy a lot but because the Amplified formula is a one-swipe wonder and super pigmented it's going to take forever to wear down the stub.
  • Rebel (Satin) - This scary looking bullet wears as a bright pink plum on my lips and this is my favourite MAC lipstick shade of all time and the first MAC lipstick I have repurchased.  I love how this shade can be built up from a sheer raspberry to a deeply vibrant colour depending on my mood.  I opt for this in the cooler months as an alternative to dark red but I can also get away with it as an unexpected summer evening lipstick choice when I want to wear a statement lip.
And the vibrant swatches!

After going through all the lipstick shades in my collection I realised there was indeed a gap and I needed a soft pink lipstick to fill it.  My selection when I finally did go the MAC counter?  Angel!
What's your favourite MAC lipstick shade?

17 February, 2015

My Valentines Day manicure (featuring FABY Innocent Fantasy and Valentina's Day)

Hello beauties!

I've come back up for air after another hectic few days around here so I'm posting my Valentine's Day manicure a few days after the fact. To those who celebrated, I hope you had a good one! We had a crazy busy weekend and hubs and I actually went out for Valentines dinner the following evening, which is a deliberate way of celebrating our way on our own (slightly "rebellious") terms.  Every day is potentially Valentines Day right? Okay at least I did find the time for an appropriately themed manicure...
I received a duo set of nail lacquers from Italian brand FABY in Valentine shades just in time for my speedy manicure - and I even managed some simple nail art this year! The brand is new to me so I've grabbed some info from their Australian site:  Originally launching in Milan Italy early in 2013 FABY have recently arrived in Australia. The lacquer shades are styled and designed, "...working in partnership with Milan’s leading garment houses who design and produce all the exquisite fabrics and textures for the world’s more recognised fashion labels; including Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo and Fendi."  The lacquers are 5 Free so don't contain DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor.

For my manicure I was going to keep it simple and stick with one colour so I applied two coats of the baby pink Innocent Fantasy for an understated look.  Application was smooth and easy to control with the medium sized brush and despite being a pastel this polish gave excellent opaque coverage.  I applied top coat as I was going to stop here...

Innocent Fantasy

...but the next morning I was inspired to take it just a little further with a little bit of simple nail art.  I cut a heart shape out of some tape to make a stencil and filled in my accent nail with a single coat of the pink toned red Valentina's Day...

Again I found the polish formula to be that smooth consistency, being neither too thick nor too watery so it was easy to get a controlled result.  I wore this manicure for two days so I can't comment on wear time but I have another colour to try for a weekday manicure so I'll put that to the test soon.

FABY nail lacquers come in a range of 205 shades and are priced at $19.90AUD. They are available from leading salons or the FABY website here.

(These products were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

13 February, 2015

January's farewelled products

What do they say about the best laid schemes of mice and men? Yes, well… despite my plans to post at least twice a week what happens? My 13 year old son drains our monthly internet allowance and I’m stuck with dial-up speed which means I can’t do anything blogwise for over a week – and I’ve had to resort to drafting blog posts as Word documents in the meantime, waiting (im)patiently for the chance to be uploaded to the internet. Grrr! GRRRR!!! With that roaring whinge out of the way let me get on with my first empties for the New Year…
Skin care

1) Face of Australia Gentle Make-Up Remover (125ml/4.23 fl.oz) – I think this is the same formula as I’ve previously used, just repackaged in a pretty new blue bottle. This remover’s good stuff and I’ve recently discovered that besides taking care of waterproof eye makeup this formula makes removing long wear lip products a cinch too!

2) Garnier Dark Spot Corrector Daily Illuminating Moisturiser (50ml) – Oh you know I’ve got to keep on fighting the good fight against pigmentation and this works well as a daily moisturiser too. Admittedly nothing performs miracles but this is one product I’ve returned to. The only thing that annoyed me this time around was the metal tube split at the side and started oozing…
Hand and body care

3) Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy (25g/0.9 oz) – I loved the fragrance of this hand cream sooooo much and of course this fragrance has been discontinued! I used only the tiniest amount at a time to make the tube last and I begrudgingly let anyone else get near it. Yes, of course like all C & E hand creams the formula is ultra-moisturising too – I’m obsessed with getting some more of this one if only I could...

4) Natio Meditate Body Butter (Yoga Scent Blue Lotus Attar) – This was the last of a trio of body butter tubs I bought over a year ago and unfortunately this range has been discontinued too.

5) Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat – This is my latest favourite quick dry top coat because it doesn’t dissolve the colour underneath and it doesn’t shrink. I got more mileage out of the bottle with the use of lacquer thinner drops so this ended up lasting almost a whole year!


6) SCOUT Cosmetics Mineral Lip Gloss (Heart)* - These are the lightest weight lip glosses I’ve tried and Heart was the perfect MLBB shade so I wore it almost daily over my summer break until I emptied the tube!

7) L’Oreal Miss Manga Voluminous Waterproof mascara (Black) – I bought my mascara in Hawaii late last year and these are just launching in Australia now. I’m a fan of the tapered flexi brush and actually started wearing mascara on my lower lashes for the first time in years!

8) Shiseido Maquillage Concealer Liquid (Natural) – Another overseas purchase from last year. I found this concealer lightweight and sheer but very brightening for the under eye area. I’ve noticed how much darker Western concealers are since moving on from this Japanese product and I miss that brightening effect.

9) Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara (01 Extreme Black) – This was my favourite high end mascara for 2014 and I used it way longer than I should have but the formula didn’t show any signs of quitting and I loved everything about it: smooth and creamy thickening formula, intensely black, smelt of chocolate (?) when I applied it, never even a hint of a clump and the brush was the perfect tapered length to grab almost all of my lashes in one sweep. I could go on and on about this mascara because I haven’t been obsessed like this with a mascara in so long…

10) Revlon Custom Eyes trio palette – I’m not sure if that’s what it was called but it’s old. Yes this trio was well loved in its day but when I found it buried in my drawer and remembered that I last wore it when 'Ally McBeal' was on TV I realised that it’s well and truly time to go! Remember that dancing baby? What a quirky old show…

Well that’s it folks for my first instalment. Fingers crossed all goes well for a timely February post because that bag of empties is bulging already!

 (Products marked * were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

05 February, 2015

OPI Fifty Shades of Grey collection: Romantically Involved

The last shade I've received from OPI's Fifty Shades of Grey collection is a...RED!
Romantically Involved is a classic blood red cream polish, deep enough to avoid being garish and skirting just on the edge of vamp - this is a sophisticated, 'don't mess with me' kind of red if you know what I mean. In terms of application this polish definitely needed two coats for opaque coverage but the end result was perfect gorgeousness and I'm in no hurry to remove this colour from my nails.  These swatches are two coats finished with a quick dry top coat.

I think I may just put Romantically Involved on my tootsies too because this is one seriously sexy red polish!
(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

04 February, 2015

OPI Fifty Shades of Grey collection: My Silk Tie

Part deux of my OPI Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy features My Silk Tie...
I love a smooth metallic silver and this polish delivered for me.  Described as a "silky, gleaming silver", My Silk Tie applied evenly in two coats with minimal streaking - you'll probably notice some here but close ups are infinitely more brutal than real life! Being a mid-toned, more neutral silver this polish isn't too cold or blue toned so I'd say it's more universally flattering on the skin than some can be. I decided to finish the manicure with a traditionally glossy top coat this time.
Until my next swatch instalment!
(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

03 February, 2015

OPI Fifty Shades of Grey Collection: Embrace The Gray (worn two ways)

Just in case you didn't know *wink*...
The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon is about to hit with the Australian movie release due on the 12th of February - just before Valentine's Day - so of course OPI have just released their new Fifty Shades of Grey collection too...
I received three shades from the collection to review and I'm starting my little polish miniseries with Embrace The Gray which I picked as the most versatile of the trio (the spelling of 'Gray' drives me a little nutty but I'll calm myself with the knowledge that it's 'Christian Gray' the character we're referring to so I'll just shut up right there).  OPI describe Embrace The Gray as a "chic, moody grey crème" and I can't really elaborate more on that so I won't! I applied two coats and while coverage was very opaque and almost a one-coater, the formula does demand a top coat for a perfect lacquer finish. Here 'tis without a top coat because I had some other plans for this polish:
Being in the mood for a twist and as I'm currently obsessing over matte grey nails, I ended up using OPI Matte Top Coat this time - and this is the look I personally preferred:
Matte or glossy?  What's your preference?
(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)
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