Thursday, 28 January 2010

EOTD Cranberry and Off the Page From A Brilliant Brunette

A Brilliant Brunette is one of my greatest online inspirations. She is so incredibly talented, and happens to be super pretty and great with the camera as well. She recently posted a look using Cranberry and Juiced which I decided to have a go at recreating. I had a lot of fun doing this look, although it didn't turn out quite as lovely as Jacqueline! And for some reason, I think it was because I was tired, but I had a really hard time taking a good picture of this. It doesn't help that I have a smudge of something on my lens. I know I need to clean it, but I'm trying to figure out what is the best thing to clean it with. For camera freaks out there, it is not my actual lens, but my UV filter.

I used (all MAC unless stated)
  • Elf Eye Shadow Primer
  • Ricepaper
  • Off the Page
  • Cranberry
  • Vanilla
  • Stila Smudge Pot in Black
  • UD 24/7 liner in Zero
  • Maybelline Colossal Mascara

It's a bit more dramatic than I normally go for, an I blended too much of the Off The Page so it got a little overwhelmed by the Cranberry, but not bad. I'm still figuring things out and learning here!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

If I Had A Bunch of Money

Right now I'm kind of on a no spending kick for January in order to make up for December's excess. I am not perfect - I broke it for a nail varnish haul a couple of weeks ago, but all in all, I've been pretty good, and only a few more days to go. In the last couple of days there have been some great products launched that have really tempted me!

If I had $100 to spend, I would pick up Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows ($52). If you already have a lot of Urban Decay colors, this might not be for you, as none of these are new shades, but instead repromotes with Alice names. But if you, like me, haven't got a lot of Urban Decay, this is a double bonus, with cute packaging, and fun colors to play with. But move fast - the first batch of these sold out in a day. Check Urban Decay and Sephora for more details of sale dates.

If I had $50 to spend, it would have to go on Stila's Jewel Eye Palette ($32). A quad of super glittery gorgeous colors that go on smooth and creamy and look wet. Hello, gorgeous!! I particularly like the look of the black and the amber shades. I have been disappointed with Stila products in the past, after first going through a real love affair, but this looks like it is going to win me back into the fold!

If I had $20 to spend, I would blow it on MAC Nymphette Lipgloss ($14). The perfect spring like color to cheer me up on a winter's day! A lovely peachy pink with gold gloss, and enough staying power to keep me sweet and shiny for a good few hours. 

If I had $10 for a quick hit, I'd score Essie Eternal Optimist ($8) which is a pretty dusky rose. Super sophisticated and chic, and a pleasant alternative to all those candy and baby pinks we see.  

What would you do if you had a bit of spare cash lying around in your pocket? I'd love to hear your wishlist...

Nails of the Week: China Glaze Light As Air

This is Light As Air from the China Glaze Up & Away collection which went on sale a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised that when this arrived I actually was more drawn to this than the other pretty pastels. It is very pretty on, though it takes a little work to get right.

Here's a close up of the rest of my haul

The Essie polish is Eternal Optimist which looks like a gorgeous sophisticated shade. I'll definitely be wearing that soon.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Puppy Shot of the Day

It's been a while since we saw Moose on the blog. Here he is helping me sort out my closet the other day. This actually is him helping out. Moose really alternates between chewing and sleeping. So this is the better of two evils.

Kiehls Exchanges Your Empties for Freebies

One of the things I remember from my environmentally conscious teenagedom was that you used to be able to bring empty bottles into The Body Shop and they would get refilled and you'd also save $1 or something on your refill. Personally, I am compulsively terrible at actually finishing anyway, but in my head I do always think that my reward for actually using up a full bottle of something should be the ability to take my tub back and get some more. I don't know anywhere that actually offers this anymore, but Kiehls do have a recycling service where if you return 3 empty products, you get a free lip balm, 5 and it's a free travel sized product, and 10, and you get a free full size product worth up to $25. It did take me a year, but I have managed to do my first five and I scored an olive oil conditioner and lip balm the other day. Now I have a self-satisfied glow that doesn't just come from the amazing body scrub, but knowing I'm doing my little bit to make the world a little better.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Most Loved: MAC Rich Ground Fluidline

I am not an artistic girl. I do not have good hands. I cannot draw a straight line to save my life, never mind a perfectly even curved one along my eyeline. But once I got my little paws on MAC's Fluidline in Rich Ground, that all changed. The color is a gorgeous rich slightly shimmery brown, and the consistency is pleasantly thick and smooth, which makes it a dream to apply. I can use it to draw a line along the lower lids either thin, or thick, and it stays put like nothing else. I use this when I really don't have time to do anything to my face in the morning as it's a super quick way to make it look like I actually tried. 

Woah Bobbi Brown

I went through a real Bobbi Brown stage about 18mths ago after a friend tipped me off after she went for a wedding makeover. I picked up the Best Sellers Palette which had some truly beautiful colors, a couple of lipsticks and glosses, and foundation. Unfortunately, it was the bad experience with the foundation that stopped me going back to the brand until now. I picked the Moisture Rich Foundation , but it ended up being shiny on me, and I didn't love the application of it. This is the lazy part of me, but my daily wanderings took me past a MAC store and about 3 different Sephoras, but no department stores selling Bobbi Brown, so it just kind of fell off my radar.
However, a little email popped in my inbox recently with the Tinted Eye Brightener Pen, and suddently I was all kinds of interest. I'm going to let you into a little secret: I'm 28, and it's starting to show. I've noticed dark shadows under my eyes, I'm looking tired, I can no longer stay out past midnight without suffering the next day. I started browsing the site, and wow, there is some seriously good stuff on there. And here's the real kicker for me: if you order online, you can return at any time. This is a big deal for me as I have had experiences of foundations that look amazing in store and after a few days that they are not working out for me, and I'm sure you have to. This alone makes me likely to buy Bobbi Brown.
Here's my current wishlist

Skin Foundation: I tried this in store the other day and it looks super nice
Tinted Eye Brightener Pen: Hello wide awake girl!
Lip gloses in Nectar and Popsicle: I would want these just for the names, but luckily these are gorgeous colors. The only annoying thing is that I don't like the brushes that are used, and find the bristles start to go in random directions.

Lip Crayons: Oh, my love affair with lip products in pencil form knows no bounds. This are straight to the top of my collectibles list. They seem to be more like the Lipstick Queen China Pencils in that they have a glossy finish rather than a matte one like the NARS Lip Velvet Matte.
As I'm technically in no shopping mode until the end of January, there's no chance of a haul just yet. But that does mean that you can chip in and tell me just what Bobbi Brown products are worth checking out, and what are worth le skip?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Total Beauty: 9 Worst Products of the Month

I have to admit that I ignore most emails that come into my inbox. I'm sure you do the same. But yesterday one caught my eye because it literally cracked me up laughing. It came from Total Beauty and was the 9 worst products of January, based on their user reviews. There is something about failed products that really brings out the ire in people, and angry people are usually funny people.

Some choice quotes:

Philosophy Dark Shadows Illuminating Eye and Upper Lip Cream
"I could have gotten the same results by rubbing in a couple drops of tap water under my eyes ..." 

Rene Furterer Triphasic Anti-Hair Loss Regenerating Serum
"BURNED MY SCALP!! Never used it again it hurt so bad ..."  

Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For Night Time Eyelash Conditioning Treatment
"My eyelashes lost length and thickness. So now I have stubby, thin, short eyelashes ..."

Smooth Away Hair Removal
"You can go buy some fine sandpaper at Lowe's and get the same affect for about 1/10th the price ..." 

Avon Healthy Remedies Detox Patches
"You would get the same effect if you took a lipton tea bag, put it in your bra and exercised for an hour ..." 

Wet n Wild Ultimate Cover Smooth Foundation
"The stuff smells like dirty shoes. The colrs are horrific, like halloween makeup ..." 

I guess I should be thankful that I haven't wasted any of my hard earned dinero on any of these products, and I do feel for the people who have. Especially the people who's eyelashes fell out when they were supposed to grow longer and thicker, and the people who sandpapered their legs.


Elf Haul Part 2: Paying an extra $2 really makes a difference!

Last week I posted about the first part of my Elf review, where I focused on the brushes. Now I'm working through the rest of my rather extensive haul.

One of the products I picked myself was Mineral Eyeshadow in Natural ($3). Wowser! This is one of those cheap ass finds that makes all the other experimentations worth it. It's a gorgeous shimmery peachy gold, and really reminds me of Stila's cult color Kitten. The pigmentation is nice, and it's super smooth to apply. I can see this being an awesome, one sweep and you're done color. Love it.

The next thing I picked out was the Liquid Liner in Silver ($1). This was part of the 10 free products that I received with my order. The liquid liner comes with a stiff nib, rather than a brush or pen. Some people will love this, others won't. I actually do find it helps with control, although varying the width of the line is a skill beyond me. The silver dried quickly, which is a bonus. I hate liquid liners that take an age to dry (I'm looking at you MAC Liquid Last), as I have to sit with my eyes closed for that whole time. The color was a pretty bright silver with a touch of shimmer.

I also received the same liner in black. The ink came out lovely and black; blacker than my Black Stila Smudge Pot, not as black as the MAC Penultimate Liner. The nib naturally draws quite a thick, dramatic line, so it's not for the faint hearted. The nib also comes out with a lot of ink, so you have to make sure you take off the excess. It did take about 2 minutes to dry out entirely, but I didn't have any problems with the color transferring to any other part of my eye. I first wore a swatch on my hand overnight, which it endured quite well. I then used it in a teal smoky eye. I really liked how it applied. It has faded a bit after 8hrs, and some shadow had moved over it as well, but not too serious. If you don't use liquid liner very often, this is a good one to have in your collection. I can potentially see myself using this instead of MAC Penultimate.

I also received an Eyelid Primer ($1). I tested this out with the same smoky eye look. It has the same consistency as Urban Decay Primer Potion, and was very easy to apply. It has no shimmer and was exactly the same color as my lids, or went on clear. I checked back on my eyes after about 8hrs, and there was no creasing at all. Some shadows had moved around a bit and blended together, but all in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this product's performance.

Up next in the haul review is the Brightening Eye Color Quad in Drama. Although the packaging looks cheap, I loved the dinky little hidden mirror underneath the applicator. That is a pretty ingenious place to put one, and I was surprised by how much you can see in there! It is a smoky eye palette featuring a white, dark shimmery gray, an almost black with a touch of shimmer, and silver. The white came out chalky, and the two colors with a lot of shimmer felt gritty. The dark gray was the only one which swatched okay. I do believe in spending a little more on eye shadow, as the pigmentation and quality do make a difference. The little quad is testament to that. I don't ever see myself using this unfortunately.

One of the products I was most excited to try out was the Pink Lemonade Shimmering Facial Whip ($1). This was even before I saw the NARS Orgasm Illuminator. The Shimmering Facial Whip is basically a light liquid that you can use as a blush or highlight. It comes in a dinky little tube and has a subtle orange scent which I really liked. Although it is not greasy in any way, it is a little tacky and not super smooth to rub in. It is definitely not "whip" which I associate with being very light and easy on the skin. I also found I needed quite a bit of it to get some shimmer to highlight. I loved the idea of Pink Lemonade, but the pink didn't suit me as it ran cooler than my skin tone likes. All that said, I'm not sure that I wouldn't try this in another shade as I love the teeny tiny size. I'm giving this a maybe.

Another must try product for me was the All Over Color Stick ($1). I chose Spotlight, which looks to be a dupe for NARS Copacobana, which has been on my wishlist for about 5 years. I have no idea why I don't just buy it. Anyway, the elf one is pretty tiny (hey, what did you expect for a buck?!). This felt much nicer on to apply and on the skin than the Shimmering Facial Whip and felt quite smooth. Like the Shimmering Facial Whip, I had to put on a lot of product to get any shimmering highlight to show up. Instead, my skin took on a slight chalky, almost blue-gray tinge. I really wanted to love this product, but it was too heavy and not enough highlight in it to make it worthwhile for me.

 Pink Lemonade, Spotlight

One of the items I picked out for myself was the Lip Stain in Fashionista, which is a pretty rose. This is a wand product with two ends - the stain which dries matte, and a gloss which also moisturises. I adore lipstains, so trying this product was a must. Firstly, the color is amazing. It is such a pretty, soft pink on me. It went on very smoothly from the wand and it took about 2-3 minutes to dry, and for another hour I could feel that there was something on my lips. A couple of hours later, my lips did feel dry. Matte lip products do tend to dry your lips out, so to me this is just to be expected. I used the moisterising / gloss end of the wand and this did soften my lips, and more importantly for me, was not sticky. The color had faded a bit after a three hours as well, but not completely. I would definitely consider buying this is other colors as I absolutely adore matte finishes, and it felt comfortable and pretty to wear. 

The last thing I opened up was the Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($1). I only used these on my hands to clean up swatches, and I'm glad. They smelled incredibly astringent which caught at the back of my throat. They were able to reasonably clean up swatches (not a hard challenge I admit), but left the backs of my hands feeling dry. Honestly, the harsh chemical smell of these makes me not even want to use them on my eyes. I'm keeping them for wiping up swatching, but definitely not repurchasing. 

So, how to sum it all up? The more expensive products from the Studio Line like the brushes and the lipstain were worth, and the quality far exceeded their measly price tag. The Primer was cheap and remarkably good, all things considered. I've seen that there is a studio line primer; I'd be keen to see how this differs from their base product. I loved the Mineral Eye Shadow and thought that the Lip Stain was pretty good too. However, the eye make up remover, the eye quad, the highlighter and the shimmering facial whip were all big fails unfortunately. 

The fact that half of the products were poor doesn't put me off Elf entirely; it more just says that with super cheap lines like this, there are going to be some things that are amazing, and some that are, well, not. If anyone else has any great elf suggestions, I'd love to hear them in the comments.  

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stila A Couple of Crushes Lip and Cheek Stains

I picked up these Stila Lip and Cheek Stains for $10 from Sephora a couple of weeks ago and haven't had a chance to play with them until today. As regular readers may be aware, I have plenty of experience with cheek stains, so when I saw these babies for such a low price, I was a dead cert for adding them to cart.

My first thoughts on them is that the packaging looks gorgeous. I adore how Stila packages their products with those brushed steel and worn out courier font. They are in a twist-end brush form, exactly the same as their lip glazes. When I broke them open, it did take a lot of twisting for any product to appear, and then suddenly I had an avalance of stain to deal with. I have always had that problem with stila lip glazes, which is why I do not own a lot of them. I either did not have enough product, or far too much. Sigh.

The colors are gorgeous - a corally mango shade, and a deep pink pomegranate shade. Stila also claims that there are ingredients which react to the pH of your skin to turn the perfect tint for you. I'm going to have to take that with a pinch of salt, to be honest. They do have a hint of shimmer which is unusual for a stain, which are sheer matte.

mango, pomegranate, unblended

Pretty as the colors are though, I did not find them super easy to apply. I had thought that they might follow the same approach as Benefit's Benetint which is three dabs then blend. Stila's need a lot more product before they start to show up, and I found myself twisting the cap like crazy, and I have to admit I couldn't get mango to show up at all on my lips. Because I wasn't sure how much color to use, I found myself dabbing then blending, dabbing then blending, and my cheeks ended up red from rubbing, not blush. I took a break then, and checked back, and I do have a sweet corally tint now. The stain wasn't as liquidy as the Benefit product, and had just a tiny amount of tackiness, but nothing like the Tarte cheek stain.

mango, pomegranate, blended out

Do I love these products? No, not really. But they are fun for $10 to play around with, and if you aren't sure about cheek stains, then definitely this is a good way to find out if that style of blush is good for you.

Smoky Eyes Are A Super Cinch

I love smoky eyes more than anything else. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn't spend my teenage years rocking the ridiculous amounts of eyeliner that Taylor Momsem does these days. Yes, us mature twentysomethings might think it is too much, but come on, it's being a teenager! To be fair, I was a teenager in the 90s, when it was all about "the natural look" which involved wearing varying shades of brown.

Earlier in the week I featured a teal smoky eye look which was pretty experimentational. That one required me to think a bit about what I was doing. I do have another smoky eye look in my arsenal which is my "no thought required, always works" smoky eye that a MAC MUA taught me last year.

I used:
Elf Shadow Primer
MAC Satin Taupe
MAC Smut
NYX Black
MAC Shroom
MAC Feline
Covergirl LashBlast Luxe


Friday, 22 January 2010

Nails of the Week: American Apparel Palm Springs

American Apparel brought out a line of nail varnish recently retailing at $6, or 3 for $15. There are 18 colors in all, taking inspirations from all kinds of random places, and their names reflect that. All colors are creme. This one is Palm Springs.

This polish applied okay, nothing special. The brush is very long, which takes some getting used to. I do very much like the color. I get what American Apparel are trying to do with the names, but at the same time, I don't really get it. They already have a gazillion shades that they have had to name for their t-shirts - why didn't they just use those colors? Then I'll know whether my Slate tee is going to match my slate varnish. Or is that just me?

Thursday, 21 January 2010

NYX Haul Part 2: Lipsticks

NYX Cosmetics are currently having a $1 bonanza sale, so now seems a good time to go through my recent NYX lipstick haul. I previously posted about my eyeshadows here.

From l-r Rose, Snow White, Louisiana, Tea Rose, Hero, Pumpkin Pie

Rose applied lovely and smoothly. However, I would definitely not call this color rose. It is closer to a fuschia pink. It is definitely a bright spark on my mouth. It took a little getting used to, but I do think I really rather like this colors.

Snow White is a dark gash or wine red. It automatically made me think of those 90s riot girl bands. Because the color is so rich and dark I made a real mess of applying it straight from the tube. This color totally did not suit me. Fail.

Louisiana is a cooler toned blue pink. Its pigmentation was not as strong as the other lipsticks. It is kind like less bright version of Rose. It is a pretty color, but a little too cool for my skin tone.

Rose, Snow White, Lousiana, Tea Rose, Hero, Pumpkin Pie

Tea Rose is a pretty nude pink. It is neutral in tone and reasonably pigmented.

Hero is a rich, dark red. It is warmer in tone than Snow White as well and not as pigmented as Snow White. The extra warmth meant that it suited my skin tone much better. I blotted this down and it became a super chic dark stain. I like it.

Pumpkin Pie is another nude pink, but this one is a lot warmer, almost with a touch of caramel. This came of almost entirely nude on my lips.

These lipsticks set me back $1.75 each, which is a good bargain for sure. NYX lipsticks feel super smooth going on and the ones I have used so far have nice pigmentation. The only thing I do have to say is woah do they taste like soap, which I do not find at all pleasant. I guess it means that I'm not likely to lick them off....

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

How Much Is Your Face Worth?

Rae at The Notice put together an interesting blog post on how much is your face worth? Total up the number of products still on your face at full price. Here goes:

Philosophy Hope in a Jar $38

Smashbox Primer $36
Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich Foundation $42
MAC Select Moisture Cover Concealer $16.50

Elf Eye Primer $1
MAC Satin Taupe $11
MAC Woodwinked $11
MAC Shroom $11
Anastasia Brow Gel $21
CoverGirl Lash Blast $7.49

Benefit Sugarbomb $28

MAC Shy Girl $14

Total: $237

That doesn't seem too bad. I'm sure there are going to be finishes on both sides of that. I'd love to hear your totals in the comments.

Most Loved: Kiehls Creme De Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish

Saturdays are scrub day in my house. I have the most ridiculously set routine ever now. And the reason that I have a Saturday routine is because I love my Kiehls Milk and Honey Scrub so much that I built everything else around it.

Kiehls Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish ($27.50 / 6.7oz) comes in a decently sized tube. It is a thick white paste with coarse grains through it. Once I've showered I apply a generous amount to my body and massage the scrub in. It takes about 4-5 quarter sized dollops to do my entire body, and then I rinse off under the shower. The grain is coarse enough that you really feel it against your skin, although I've never been scratched or even red after using it. The scent of this product is amazing. It is literally one of the best smelling products I have ever come across - a sweet but natural honey and milk scent that is simply divine. And even better than that is just how amazingly smooth your skin is after you've scrubbed. I then follow up with Kiehls Creme De Corps which is their signature body lotion for truly silky skin. Once I've completed this little routine, I really feel like my weekend can start with truly glowing, radiant skin.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

FOTD Teal Smoky Eyes

I put this FOTD together partly as a way of testing out some products, and partly because it has taken me about 5 years to actually do it! This is incredibly embarassing, but I wanted to do this eye for my graduation ball, but didn't really have the skills to do it. I was just playing around the other day and realised that I could probably do a stab at what my mind's eye had imagined. I didn't really have an idea of how to get to where I wanted, and my limited google searching didn't bring up anything I was looking for. However, I do really like the results, although the mint on one eye got a little blown out.


Products used:

ELF Eyelid Primer
NYX Jumbo Pencil in Black Bean
MAC Pigment in Mutiny
MAC Knight Divine
NYX Rock
MAC Aquadisiac
MAC Shroom
NYX Geisha
CoverGirl LashBlast Luxe Mascara
Anastasia Brow Gel
ELF Liquid Liner
MAC Fix+

Smashbox Primer
MAC Moisture Select Concealer in NW20
Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich Foundation in Sand
MAC MSF in By Candlelight
MAC Fix+

NYX Lipstick in Pumpkin Pie

I used Elf's Eyelid Primer as my base to test out the product. Then I used NYX Jumbo Eyelid Pencil in Black Bean over the whole lid. I put a couple of dabs right in the center, and used a flat brush to smoosh (do we do that with our bases - smooosh?) it over the whole lid and a little into the crease.

Next, I sprayed a brush with Fix+ and took some Mutiny and used it over the whole lid. This created a teal-gray color which I really dug. I was tempted to stop here and be done. However, it wasn't the look I was going for. I then used a dry brush and used Knight Divine on the middle lid, and Rock on the outer lid. I took a small brush and put Aquadisiac in the whole crease, and used a blender brush to blow out the color. I then highlighted with Shroom. I used the ELF's Liquid Liner to draw a line along the whole of the lid with a slight wing. I actually liked the way this applied. I put Feline on the lower waterline, and Aquadisiac on the lower lashline. I also added a touch of NYX Geisha to my tearducts.

For blush I used MAC MSF in By Candlelight on my apples of my cheeks and up to my temples in a kind of C shape. Lips were NYX Pumpkin Pie from my recent NYX haul. It looks like, but smells like soap. I know they are cheap, but I'm not sure if I can get over that!

Oh, and please excuse the hair. I have been testing out a leave-in conditioner and it seems to have made my hair a horribble mess!

Cheeky Tarte

Tarte Cosmetics have a strong brand focus on being natural make up brand. One of their most famous products is their line of cheek stains which contains a Super Fruit Complex with soothening and softening properties. As you may be aware, cheek stains are one of my absolute favorite make up products. Posie Tint by Benefit is a must have product, and I wore a deep deep hole in my stila rouge pot. I also have two cheek and lip stains from stila still to review, bad blogger that I am! 

I picked up the Tarte Stain in Blissful, described as a warm peachy pink, although to me it looks closer to strawberry, a couple of months ago. They have a fairly big range of colors to pick from and I had quite a hard time picking out just one. It looks absolutely delicious. The product is exceedingly generous. It comes in a wide push up shape, and looks a bit like a giant lip balm. 

The first thing I noticed when I tried the product was its texture. It is quite sticky, and much less liquid or creamy than I imagined it would be. I did not like this at, and I felt like it made blending the color onto my cheeks difficult. To me, a cheek stain should feel like nothing at all, and be incredibly easy to blend into nothing. This was so tacky that I felt that it was sticking to my cheeks as I tried to blend it, and that I was actually rubbing off my base as I was doing it. In fact, I found it hard to guage how much to use as my cheeks were pink from trying to quickly rub the color in! Once on, it did provide a lovely sheer sheen of color, but boy did I have to work to get there. 

I think that this product is incredibly good value, and I can never ever imaging using the whole product or even 10% of it! However, the tackiness of the application really puts me off using it unfortunately, so despite the lovely range of colors and the pretty outcome, I won't be buying this again.


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