Redeem a Lychee Crushed Dream

Hello guys! Today I have a rather different post for the blog. It is somewhat of a lipstick review, but also a bit of a DIY! It involves the Face of Australia Lip Quench in the shade Lychee Crush. This particular shade from the line has been so hyped up and raved about all over the Australian beauty blogosphere - probably a bit of old news by now. I was sucked in and bought it in January as it swatched so prettily on my hand, but alas the shade completely washes out my complexion, giving me dead, zombie lips - very unflattering! Keep reading for a review of it, and how I made it work for me!

The shade itself is very pretty and one that I wish suited my skintone - I can definitely see where all the hype comes from. It is a pale peachy-pink nude shade which would be suitable for everyday wear or for a more subtle lip paired with a strong eye. I'm fairly sure any pale, 'conventional' nudes just don't go with my skintone and I have learned my lesson and steer clear of any of these types of shades. The 'nudes' I prefer are more 'My lips but better' shades. 

Swiped, blended

Aside from the shade being totally unflattering on me, I'm not too taken with the formula either. It's pretty opaque and creamy, moisturising and feels nice when swatched on the hand. But, this shade in particular settles into the lines of my lips, doesn't spread evenly and overall looks pretty bad. I've tried blanking out my lips beforehand but it doesn't seem to work either. I also really dislike the smell which could probably be attributed to the SPF30 in the product. The only way I can make this shade work on the lips is by adding, mixing or layering it with another shade, something darker and warmer. It produces a nice colour but not something I could really be bothered with.

Spontaneously one night, I decided to try it out on my cheeks. I was reading some posts on Stila Gerbera convertible colour and people said it was very pretty on the cheeks but too pale on the lips - so I thought, hey! That's the problem I'm having with this lipstick! When I applied it to the cheeks, it was love! Whether applied with fingers or my Real Techniques Stippling brush it was super pretty. So, Lychee Crush went under the knife.

I wanted to make it a bit easier to use with my brush so I decided to melt it down into a little pot. The pot I used is a little sample pot from Mecca. I decided to mix the shade with a bit of Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin which is a coral shade just to give it a teensy bit more warmth and vibrancy. The original Lychee crush and my concoction are very similar but I do like the one with added orange better.

All chopped up!

Looks pretty...gross

I chopped it up first to see how much product would fit in the pot. I probably could have melted it all but I wanted a bit of breathing room and if it turned out to be a disaster, I would have still had some left. I used a hairdryer to melt it down and I'm not sure if that's the best way, but it worked for me. I melted it, then mixed with a toothpick, then melted and left it on a flat surface to set evenly.

I even made a little label!

Ignore the little dots, they're from my stippling brush

The formula is super creamy and lovely to apply to the cheeks. It blends really nicely and it livens up the face and brightens but very subtly and naturally. I've been using it a lot! The one downside though is that is is not very long lasting - I didn't expect it to be as it is a lipstick. I top it with a bit of translucent powder to stretch it out a bit but that takes away the dewy finish I really like from it.

Here is a swatch, but it's pretty much the same as the first one

Overall I'm super glad that I found a new use for this lipstick and stops it from gathering dust in my drawer! I actually think the colour is quite similar to Stila Gerbera but maybe that ones a bit more peachy? I think it gives a similar effect though and I really like it! I don't know if this post was helpful or not, but I hope you enjoyed it!

Do you ever use lipstick as blush?


1 part Moisture, 1 part Treatment

Today I have a skincare product I have been using for the past month/2 months. It is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. I had pretty high hopes for this product from all the rave reviews around the beauty blogosphere - claiming it works miracles! Keep reading to see if it lived up to my expectations!

Right off the bat I just want to mention that there are two versions of this product, the one sold in Europe and here in Australia are able to be used all over the face as a moisturiser and the one sold in America is more of a spot treatment with higher levels of benzoyl peroxide. Just check which version you have before using it willy nilly! I have the European version.

It is marketed towards skin with severe imperfections and claims to reduce the appearance of imperfections and unclog sebum-blocked pores. It contains Niacinamide and Piroctone Olamine to help purify the skin and protect against breakouts developing. It also contains LHA/Linoleic Acid to help unclog pores by eliminating dead cells clogging the pores. These ingredients are combined with thermal spring water to soothe the skin. 

Enlarge for ingredients

During my first month of use, I used the product twice daily (morning and evening). I've since switched to using it only at night as I noticed such good results from using it twice daily. It did break me out a little bit in the first few days, but they cleared up quite quickly. I'm not sure if my skin was adjusting to it or if it was one of those 'it has to get worse before it gets better' situations. Regardless, it wasn't a major downer for me. It claims to be a mattifying and moisturising creme-gel. I would say that's a pretty good description. I don't find the moisture is adequate for night, so I use a heavier moisturiser over the top. For day wear it serves as a great base for make up. 

On to the results it gave my skin; overall I am pretty happy with the product and do feel that it lives up to its claims. Throughout the testing period I did have quite a bit of stress due to exams and assignments, late nights, and junk food binges (as well as hormonal breakouts) which left my skin looking a bit worse for wear. I feel this only really helps with breakouts caused by bacteria (I mean, can hormonal/stress related pimples really be prevented?). I found it helps clear up acne faster and overall gives the skin a clearer look and texture. It helped clear up some of the small bumps around my forehead and nose area which have been there for a long time, and nothing else seemed to work! I don't find, however, that it helps with acne scarring or in my case preventing the spot leaving a scar. I have noticed less breakouts since using it and there was a time (right before exams) where I was very happy with the state of my skin, and I believe it can all be attributed to this product. I will of course keep using it but I do feel this produces really beneficial results and will be good in the long term.

Overall, this has definitely become a staple in my skincare routine, and one that I will continue to use and repurchase for a long time. It's not hugely expensive at AUD$25.95 for 40mL of product at Terry White Chemists. You can find your nearest La Roche-Posay stockist here. I think it's worth every cent and hopefully with continued use I will be on the road to clearer skin! 

Have you tried the Effaclar Duo? Did it work wonders for you?


Glossy Blossom

Today I have a review of a product I have been loving so much lately! I realize it is now Winter here in Australia, but I still love rocking my bright coloured lips! I guess this is an ode to those in the Northern hemisphere who are currently enjoying the heat of Summer!

The product I have to share today is a Witchery Lip Gloss wand in the shade Blossom. I don't hear very much, if anything, about Witchery in terms of it's beauty offerings. I feel that they are underrated and people probably don't know about them as Witchery is not a place where you would expect to find them. I've only tried two things - this gloss and a couple of nail polishes - but I feel they are of really good quality and at a very reasonable price point - especially as they are often on sale! I've swatched their lipsticks and they are also very nice!

Onto the actual review, the gloss is housed in a sleek rectangular plastic tube, with a twist off lid. It looks very high quality and sleek - love the packaging! It comes with a regular doe-foot sponge applicator which is nothing special, and does require a bit of dipping 'back and forth' to get a good amount of product.

Blossom is a very summery, pretty, pinky coral shade. Depending if worn alone or layered and on different skintones, you can get different variations of the colour. Sometimes it's a bit more pink, others it's more coral.

The real winner for me though, is the formula. I've never been an avid lover of lip gloss. Sure, there were the early days when I used to believe that lipsticks were for older ladies and all I wore was gloss and lip balm. I never used to really enjoy wearing them though, the ones I had were thick, sticky, lacked colour and were frequent attractors of my hair. Since discovering the wonders of lipstick, the different formulations and such, I've never really been back.

Upon swatching these glosses in store, I was pleasantly surprised. Firstly, the colour payoff is gorgeous. It is quite saturated but still retains the juicy transparency, definitely pigmented enough to wear alone but can be layered to let the colour beneath show through slightly. The texture is quite thin, non-sticky and it hardly feels like there is anything on the lips. It is quite shiny, but not overly like you've slathered your lips in baby oil. Lasting power is average, will be gone with eating or drinking, but pretty good considering it's non-sticky formula.

It does have a scent of a fake, cherry, almost medicinal smell which I've never been a fan of, but it doesn't linger on the lips.

This is one of the few lip glosses I really like and have been reaching for regularly. It's enticed me to try out other glosses! This is currently on sale for $7.95 which I think is really good - they have some really pretty bright summery shades but also a super deep, dark burgundy plum which is so nice. I explained more in detail in my haul post of how you can sign up and get a free $20 gift voucher for your birthday but I highly recommend doing so! It contains 7.2mL of product for a full price of AUD$14.95.

Have you tried any Witchery makeup?


Haul | A Hop to the Shop

Today I have a haul post of some things I have picked up recently - and a cute little visitor who you'll see at the end! Almost everything here was purchased on sale/at a discounted price - we all know how much I love me some budget beauty!

First up for some nail polish (as per the usual):

My sister who works for a hair magazine recently went to Hair Expo in Sydney. At hair expo they have booths with brands selling their products and OPI was there selling their polishes for $10 each! I decided to take advantage of the half price discount and pick up a couple. I went for unique polishes as $10 is still quite expensive (for me) haha. 
I've been wanting to try out the liquid sand formula for some time, however none of them really appealed to me except for Jinx which is from the latest Bond Girls collection. I'll have a NOTD up soon-ish for it!
I also grabbed Lights of Emerald city from the Oz the Great and Powerful collection as the unique glitter combo appealed to me and it looked so amazing from sleepandwater's photos!

I also grabbed the milky glitters from the Face of Australia glitterati collection that I really wanted. There aren't very many milky glitters on the market, let alone at such a good price point. I got these for $3.70 each on sale at Big W. The shades are Funky Town, Heart of Glass (already worn and it looks so pretty!) and Boogie Wonderland.

For the few makeup bits:

I managed to grab the Revlon Multi-use palette from my Myer. This is quite an old product from some 3 years ago - but have no fear it was still sealed and in perfect condition! I was, you could call it, 'discount diving' in what seemed like the mountain of clearanced products in my Myer and stumbled across it for a mere $1! I could not leave the store without it, and I had seen a few good things about it particularly on sleepandwater's blog (seriously, an amazing blog!). 

I picked up this Lip gloss wand from Witchery which may seem like an odd place to be beauty shopping and I've never heard/read anything about their products (I do own a couple of nail polishes which are pretty good). The reason I bought this was because of the Witchery club thing. If you (Aussies) aren't already signed up I highly urge you to as during your birthday month you get a $20 gift voucher! No strings attached, just basically free cash to spend there. You can become a member here. They have a small collection of products like the lip glosses, lip sticks, nail polishes, perfumes, body cream and wash, candles and hand creams. I believe all of which are under $20 - might as well get a free product! Or you can always put it toward a piece of clothing or whatnot. A few of the products were on sale at the time of my purchase. The lip gloss full price is $14.95 (I think) but it was on sale for $7.95. I was initially going to get three of these in different shades, but turns out I had $40 on my card! $20 for my birthday and another $20 from some other reward - I don't know where from but I certainly wasn't asking questions! So I got a sweater which was reduced to $35 and this gloss in the shade Blossom. I'll have a review up but - spoiler alert - I love it!

Lastly, a couple of Rimmel things from Target. I bought the Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara (which has garnered many positive reviews from the UK) which was on introductory offer for $11.95 (RRP 17.95). But what really pushed me to the register was that it came with a bonus Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner in shade Black. These retail for something like $9 so I thought that was an awesome bargain and I've been wanting to try these liners for a while.

I bought a few Soap & Glory skincare bits from ebay. The seller I used was very good and it arrived in about a week from the UK. I got the Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser which I've wanted for a while. I couldn't find it in my Mecca or Kit and I don't believe they stocked it but I do know it is available online and probably in other stores. I picked it up for $22 (incl. shipping), but here it retails for $28. I also bought the Night in shining armour Cream while I was there. I was led to this from reading reviews on the cleanser - it got a 4.6 on makeupalley which I think is pretty dang good (makeupalley can be vicious sometimes!). I've been after a good night cream now that we're in winter so hopefully this'll be good! This cost around $28 (incl. shipping) but I don't believe this is available in Australia.

Lastly I picked up this Essence 24h hand protection balm in the scent Caramel Hot Chocolate. This was only $1.95 and it is limited edition so I thought I'd pick it up. Smells just like how I imagine the drink on the front would. 

And finally the little visitor I had yesterday whilst taking photos. I didn't want to get too close to scare him off so I had my camera at full zoom! An adorable wallaby just chillin' in my backyard munching on some grass. Hehe. And yes he inspired the title to this post :P

Anyways, that's all of it! Hope you enjoyed the post and reviews will be up in due time!

Any cute animals lurk your backyard?


Smelly Sunday | Green Tea Camellia

Today I have another edition of Smelly Sunday! Before I get into the perfume, I wanted to remind everyone that GFC (Google Friend Connect) will presumably be no longer on the 1st of July. There are quite a few rumours circling about the fate of GFC, but I believe Google is trying to push everyone to use Google Plus. To keep up to date with my blog, I highly recommend following me with Bloglovin'. I have the link in my sidebar or you can click here. It's very easy to create an account, and it is a very efficient way of following and reading blogs! Onto the fragrance today, I have the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia perfume.

The original version - Green Tea - was released in 1999 and since there have been many renditions of the scent, Camellia being one of them.
Elizabeth Arden describes it as:
"Delicate. Graceful. Intriguing. Discover the world of Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia. Renowned for its rare beauty and revered for its use in the traditional tea ceremony, the camellia brings an intriguing floral scent to the crisp freshness of the original green tea fragrance. Inspired by ikebana, the ancient art of Japanese flower arrangement, this luxurious fragrance reveals the delicate grace of a single perfect blossom as it unfolds petal by petal." 

Also according to Elizabeth Arden, these are the key notes:
Top Notes: Caraway, Fruity Rhubarb, Lemon, Orange Zest and Bergamot
Middle Notes: Cool Minty Peppermint, Green Tea, Sweet Jasmine, Spicy Carnation, Fresh Fennel and Crispy Celery Spice
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Musk and Amber

I find it is a very light, refreshing scent perfect for daytime wear and during the warmer months (though I've been wearing it quite frequently now, during Winter). I can definitely pick up the floral and citrus notes with the slight lingering of Green Tea.

The packaging is nothing special, being a sort of oval shaped, teal-tinted bottle. It is simple but practical. 
I find the scent lasts on the skin really well for an Eau de Toilette - I can still smell it on the skin 10 hours later. 

As I said, I really love this scent for easy, daytime wear and have been wearing it almost on a daily basis. This perfume is really affordable and can often be picked up for $15 or less from Chemist Warehouse or Priceline. It contains 100mL so it's definitely good value for money. 

Have you tried or own any of the 'Green Tea' scents? Which do you like best?


Little Luxuries

Hello everyone! Today I have a bit of a different post all about samples - or rather those adorable deluxe sized ones that are mini versions of the full size. I have quite the collection of these (more than you see here), mainly due to the lot my mum has accumulated over the years. I seriously love the idea of these minis - they are completely free, some come in boxes with information pamphlets and sometimes they even give you a little baggie! It feels like you just bought something, but you didn't! They give you a great opportunity and a decent amount of product to try something a bit more expensive and get an idea of whether you like it, or it works for you. Most of my minis have been acquired either by asking, or through Gift With Purchases. 

Most of the bits are skincare, so I will start of with them.

Skincare is probably the easiest to get samples of, as it's definitely something that may not work or have an adverse reaction to your skin, in which case you definitely wouldn't want to have paid full price!

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense:
This little pot contains 7mL of product and I have been using it for the past 2 weeks and am only halfway! This is a really beautiful moisturiser - it is a gel-creme formulation which is super lightweight and fast absorbing, though very hydrating. It works well for my combination skin as a night cream, also as my skin is starting to get a bit dryer now that it is Winter. This could work well for dryer skins even as a day cream as it is not too heavy. It really helps moisturise those dry flaky patches. If I were to splurge on a moisturiser, this would be an option!

Estee Lauder Idealist:
This is supposed to be a serum that evens out the skintone and illuminates the complexion. I had funny feelings about this when I initially opened it as it contains sparkles. They are actually very pretty - almost like a iridescent pearl. After reading reviews online, I saw that many people said it didn't work well even after using a whole full-sized bottle. I figured I wasn't going to see any drastic results from my 7mL sample, so I decided to put the shimmer to use. I now almost use it as if it were a liquid illuminator, the shimmer it gives off is very subtle and natural. I like mixing it with matte foundations/BB creams and it makes the base a bit more dewy, and suprisingly doesn't affect the wear time or oil-controlling abilities. Obviously, I wouldn't suggest buying the full size to use as an illuminator, but maybe if you have the sample at home you can put it to a new use. 

Blob, blended
 Estee Lauder Daywear:
This little tube is 5mL which I find lasts a really good while. This is a really lovely day moisturiser that contains SPF 15. It's a lovely texture that sinks in well, is not heavy and is suitable for normal and combination skin. I really like this moisturiser and it mixes well with foundations.

SKII Cellumination Essence:
SKII is a very expensive Japanese brand that my mum has gotten quite a few samples from, haha. The two I've tried though I will be talking about. The first is this serum which is supposed to brighten the complexion. I've been using it for the past 2 weeks and honestly haven't noticed a difference. My skin looks slightly brighter but nothing really noticeable. The texture is very thin and sinks in immediately. It has no other benefits - it isn't moisturising or anything else. Not worth the money to be honest.

SKII Whitening Source Derm Brightener:
This is a moisturiser that I've been using mainly to help lighten dark spots. It is a thick cream that almost feels velvety when applied. For such a texture, It is not as moisturising as I thought. I have noticed the slightest lightening of my acne scars but for the price, I find the Garnier Dark Spot Correcter does a better job and is a much nicer texture and provides other benefits to the skin.

I don't have very many 'makeup' items and these you generally can't get for free outright, most are from GWP.

Lancome Hypnose Precious Cells Mascara:
I find these little sample tubes actually last a really long time. I absolutely love this mascara!  It is pretty much everything I look for in one - lengthening, defining and just in general making it look like I have more lashes. It gives that really fluttery lash look. It doesn't hold a curl but it's not waterproof, but it doesn't smudge or flake on me either. The wand is really cool and I think really helps with application. On one side it has shorter bristles and the other has longer ones. I apply with the shorter bristles then rotate and comb through with the longer ones to get good separation.

Longer, shorter
Shiseido Advanced Perfomance lipstick in Mauve Breeze:
Actually not a fan at all of this shade, and maybe it's just old but the formula is hard and sticky - yuck. The colour is an orangey-brown which would completely clash with my skintone. I had to include it though, because I have no other mini makeup, it's so darn cute in mini size!

Marc Jacobs Dot Perfume:
This vial size of perfume is really common and these you can get for free. I find they are really good for in the handbag or travel. I have a heap of these, Dot is a really lovely floral.

Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude:
These sizes are generally in GWP, but you can get them for free sometimes. These are also good for handbag or travel and are so cute in their mini bottles! I like Sensuous Nude better than the original, it's a very demure, subtle, classy scent.

OPI Nail lacquers:
These you can't get for free, they can be purchased in sets of four. They contain a tiny amount of 3.75mL which I think is probably the smallest you can get without being ridiculous. I like the idea of mini nail polish but I think these should be 5mL, rounds it off and the bottle wouldn't be so tiny. Tiny bottle = tiny brush. Also they aren't labelled which is so annoying!

L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate:
This was in a GWP, and is their very famous body lotion. It smells DIVINE. It's like a dollop cream consistency - so nicee! Ruth Crilly has named this the best body lotion ever so...

I hope this post wasn't too long! These are the minis I've been using lately, and I assure you there are more where they came from...

Do you have a lot of minis? Do you like the idea of them?


NOTD | Studio Sparkle

Hey y'all! Today I have another Nail of the Day featuring one of the beautiful Face of Australia Glitterati Nail enamels. The collection features eight limited edition shades, ranging from multicoloured glitters, to milky pastel glitter mixes. I finally managed to snag the three milky ones at Big W on sale at 25% off. They are still very affordable otherwise at $4.75-95 and I highly recommend picking them up if you have the chance! 

The shade I'm using today is Studio 54 which is a really pretty glitter polish filled with a mix of two different sizes of rose gold glitter. For this look I've done my first attempt at a glitter gradient where the glitter gradually gets thicker towards the tip of the nail. There is a good amount of glitter packed into the polish so you don't have to go fishing around for it. It worked quite well for this look as you could get a good amount of 'fade'. 

To do the glitter gradient I simply painted half of my nail as normal, though I did clear off a lot of the polish from the brush. To build up the glitter at the edge, I used the 'dabbing method' which gave me a good amount at the tips. As the glitter is quite densely packed, there wasn't a huge blob of clear polish on my nail (good clear polish to glitter ratio!). I made sure it was completely dry before topping off with my Revlon Colorstay top coat to seal in the glitter and even out the nail.

For my base colour, I used an OPI shade which I have in a mini. Sadly, as it is a mini, it is not labelled and I have no idea what it is called! :( It is a nice light mushroom-beige with pinky undertones. It doesn't clash too much with my yellow toned skin, but doesn't look like I have no fingernails either! The formula was lovely and self-levelling - a bit of a crelly (creme-jelly) as it was slightly sheer (but easily opaque in 2 coats) and very shiny. I thought this colour would complement the rose gold quite nicely.

These are the polishes I used for the look. Quick mention about the Essence peel off basecoat. If you are a lover and frequent wearer of glitter polish, but hate having to remove it, you NEED this in your life! It was a limited edition and probably not available anymore but there is an alternative! It's as easy as PVA glue! Just pop it into an old polish bottle and you're good to go! I opted for the Essence simply as I didn't have any empty bottles haha. If you would like more info check these posts here and here, or google!

I'm very pleased with my first glitter gradient and will definitely be trying out this technique in future looks!


Pretty Little Pots

Hello! It's no secret that I love blush. So, when Ozsale had Bourjois on, everything for $8, I jumped at the chance to try out a couple of their Little Round Pot blushes.

I picked up two shades, 34 Rose d'Or and 16 Rose Coup de Foudre
Packaging wise, they are très cute. The little pots are colour coordinated so very easy to discern between shades. They feature an easy magnetic closure, a mirror (though it's really too small for practicality) and a brush (again, not very practical in terms of shape, but it's definitely not as scratchy as others - so not completely useless). These certainly are little though, packing only 2.5g worth of product.

Rose Coup de Foudre, Rose d'Or
Before I begin describing the shades, I want to mention that these are heavily fragranced. I don't find the smell too offensive - it's a musky, sweet and powdery floral but I can definitely imagine that sensitive skins could possibly be bothered by it. The scent does linger on brushes and the face. It is very strong, and is definitely headache-inducing if you sniff it for too long. I don't mind lightly fragranced powders, but in my opinion, this was a bit much. 

Onto the colours though!

Rose Coup de Foudre, Rose d'Or

Rose Coup de Foudre, Rose d'Or

These powders are very smooth and don't kick up any powder. Initially they are very pigmented and apply well (I'll chat about that a bit later). I find they last pretty well on the skin, the average for a powder blush. Rose Coup de Foudre is definitely my favourite of the two, purely because I find these sorts of shades flatter my complexion really well. It is a peachy-apricot shade with a hint of pink and a lovely golden sheen. Rose d'Or is one I haven't got as much use out of as I'm not really one for pink blush, but I had to pick it up because of what I had seen of it online, and my collection is lacking slightly in the pink department. It is a really pretty mid-tone medium pink with the same gold shimmer-sheen.

I'm not sure if this is the case with all baked products, but these Bourjois blushes are known to 'seal off' (I believe that is the correct term...). This basically means the surface of the powder begins to harden and it is quite hard to get any pigment from the blush. To correct that, I simply scratch away the surface with a cotton bud and it's pretty much as good as new. It's a detail I can overlook, but it is kind of annoying and a bit product wasting (not that I see myself going through these anytime soon).

While I absolutely adore the colours I own, I won't be picking up anymore. I feel that these are way too overpriced for what they are and I'm very glad I picked them up at a discounted price. They retail for AUD$20 for only 2.5g. That, and the fact that quite often I have to scratch the surface of the powder. 

Have you guys tried these, thoughts?