Monthly Favourites | August 2013

And so comes the end to another month! We are getting closer and closer to the end of 2013 - shocker!! I don't have very many new favourites this month, but I have also been testing quite a few new products which will probably crop up in next month's faves. Onto the goods!

First up my skincare favourite of the month has been the Soap & Glory Night in shining armour cream. I haven't done a full review on this yet but it's a work in progress! I've been thoroughly enjoying using this cream lately (not just through August). It's a pretty basic night cream as it does what it's meant to - moisturise the skin really well. I've also really been liking mixing in Rosehip oil to add a teensy bit more moisture but also to aid with dark spot correction.

A new product I've been using is the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer which my sister gave me. I hardly use primers, the only other one I've tried is the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot which I honestly found to do nothing for me. This one I find helps more so in the longevity department. I find my foundation just wears better and looks better by the end of the day when I use this primer. I'll probably do a full review on this one also, so keep an eye out!

My brush fave this month has been the Real Techniques Deluxe crease brush from the Starter set which I just reviewed. I really like using this for applying and blending out concealer. It's much quicker and easier than using fingers and it lends a much more flawless finish.

I've also really liked using the Neutrogena Hand Cream this month which I got in the sample pack a few months ago. I don't love this all over the hands, but more so in particular dry areas. The texture is quite weird, very thick and ointment like. It doesn't spread very well over the hands. It doesn't leave a very greasy or sticky residue though. Lately parts of my hands have been quite dry and itchy and I find this has been soothing those areas quite well.

A repeat offender in the favourites department is the Lancome Hypnose Precious Cells mascara. I seriously love this stuff! I am treasuring my little sample tube, haha, despite my love I don't think I could ever (at least in the near future) shell out that much on a mascara. I've talked about it enough but I seriously love the natural, thickened and fluttery lashes this gives me. Also no smudging - bonus!

The blush I've been using pretty much everyday this month is the Estee Lauder Tender Blusher in Fresh Plum. This has been discontinued unfortunately :( and it's actually my mum's haha, but I adore the shade! It is a lovely dusty plum/mauve perfect for the cooler weather (which will soon be gone)! Despite its deeper, cooler tone it was still quite brightening on the face and also quite natural. 

The perfect complement to that blush is the Estee Lauder Signature Hydralustre lipstick in Soft Amethyst. I've worn this lipstick all through Autumn/Winter so it's more of a seasonal favourite than a monthly one, but I still wanted to mention it! It's a gorgeous plummy mauve shade that is purple but very wearable and nice for any occasion!

The other lipstick I've been reaching for a lot this month is another repeat fave, the Essence lipstick in All about Cupcake. This is a great shade that I gravitate towards all the time. It's a pinky-nude shade which I find is a great My-lips-but-pinker shade. It is sheer and glossy with a slight moisturising factor.

Hand cream, All about cupcake, Soft Amethyst, Fresh Plum

I also want to sneak in a bit of an UNfavourite this month - not makeup related- but it was hands down the The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie which came out recently. I have been reading the books (currently on the latest one!) and have been really enjoying them. I was super excited for the movie but honestly, and many a fan (of the books) can attest, that it was a complete and utter fail. It did not stay true to the plot of the books, most of the acting was poorly and there was hardly any chemistry between the main couple. They completely butchered the plot! They put things in from two books away, and spoiled major aspects of the future story lines. The only good thing about the movie was Robert Sheehan (who played Simon) because he is such a cutie and honestly one of the only good actors in the movie. I would not recommend seeing this movie, but if you do, please don't judge the books on the merit of the movie! The books are very good! Rant over, haha.

Ugh, I can't bear to look at it.

Those were my favourites for the month of August! I expect I'll have a much more exciting one for next month - yay Spring!

What have you guys been loving this month?


Brush Up | Eyes

Hi guys! Today I have another Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brush review! This time it's on the Starter Set. The starter set is comprised of five eye brushes, so let's get into the review!

I purchased this set mainly because my brush collection was severely lacking in pretty much all departments. The Starter Set holds the majority of the eye brushes that Real Techniques offers so I thought I would grab it! The handles are a light aluminium with a rubberized bottom. They are purple which goes along with all of the eye brushes in the range. Their names are clearly printed on the sides, however my Brow brush's label is rubbing off, and has been since I first got them. It's a defect I'm able to overlook and it hasn't happened with any of my other brushes!

The brushes included in this set are the deluxe crease brush, base shadow brush, accent brush, pixel point eyeliner brush and the brow brush. All Real Techniques brushes use synthetic taklon bristles which are uber soft and are able to be used with cream, liquid and powder products.

Base shadow brush, deluxe crease brush

First up is the base shadow brush. This is quite a long, thin brush that comes to a slight taper. It is also slightly fluffy at the end but is overall quite dense and stiff. I find this a really great all in one brush and one that I use quite often for a no-fuss eyeshadow look. It is dense enough to apply either powder or cream shadows all over the lid, the thin, tapered point provides great precision for the crease or outer corner and the slight fluffiness blends out shadow well.

The deluxe crease brush is almost like a mini Buffing brush with a domed top. It is circular in shape and is quite densely packed with bristles. In terms of eyeshadow, I only find this functional for blending out shadow as opposed to applying it. It feathers out the edges of eyeshadow really well but if used too vigorously it can blend the shadow away. On a day to day basis, I love using this for blending in concealer which is also what the Pixiwoo sisters frequently use it for. It blends and applies both cream and liquidy concealers really well.

Brow brush, Accent brush, Pixel point eyeliner brush

The brow brush is an angled brush which I primarily use for applying brow powder. You could also use it to line the lashline with eyeshadow. However, this brush is quite big and thick compared to typical angled eye brushes. I initially thought it would be too thick for applying brow powder however it is actually very effective especially when I'm in a rush in the morning as the size fills in the brows really quickly. It doesn't mimic the natural, thin shape of the brow hairs but it shades them quite well.

The Accent brush is a tiny and very thin brush which I find is great for highlighting the inner corner or smudging shadow on the lashlines. I don't have much to say about this one, other than it does the job really well! You could also use this guy for spot concealing.

The Pixel point eyeliner brush is probably my least favourite of the set. To me, it is not "pixel point" at all, and it fact is quite thick and almost pokey around the eyes. It's designed to apply gel liner, or shadow but I find it would be much too thick to apply liner effectively and precisely. I barely reach for it and I could only imagine it being good for a very thick line of eyeliner.

The eye brushes from Real Techniques definitely don't get as much praise as their face brushes, however I feel that the quality is just as good but some of these brushes just aren't shaped very well. The Brow brush and the pixel point eyeliner brush could be thinner and the deluxe crease brush is a bit too dense to blend eyeshadow expertly. Many of these are still incorporated into my daily routine and I thoroughly enjoy them.

What are your thoughts on the Real Techniques eye brushes?


Empties #2

Hey guys! Today I have another empties post as it has been about 3 months since my last one! I finished up a few products but I also culled a few makeup items from my collection! Let's get into it!

Hair and body first!

Salon Professional Repair Mask:
This was a small size hair mask which I used up. I quite liked this and it claimed to repair the hair, etc. but you can't really tell if it does can you? I found that it was only slightly more moisturising than my conditioner so I didn't find it particularly great as a mask. As expected though, it left my hair feeling soft and nourished.
Repurchase? No, there are better hair masks out there.

Organic Everescents Organic Bergamot Conditioner:
I finished up a travel size (100mL) of this conditioner for normal/dry hair. I really like this brand as it is totally organic, no sulphates, etc however I did not really like this product. I found that it didn't really do anything for my hair - it sort of just went on then rinsed out, without providing any moisture. I ended up using this to clean my brushes in the end. I have tried the moisturising shampoo and conditioner from this brand which I much prefer!
Repurchase? No

Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen:
This actually isn't empty but rather expired (about a year ago too...whoops!). I really enjoyed this sunscreen however I like the Dry Touch one much better (also from Neutrogena). I find this one is slightly more greasy, but not at all bad for wearing under makeup.
Repurchase? No

Crabtree & Evelyn Summer Hill Body wash:
Another mini body wash, this one also from a gift set I received. I like to alternate between body washes and the Dove beauty bars so I'm mostly trying to use them up! They're all pretty much the same to me, and the scent wasn't bad but I got pretty bored with it.
Repurchase? Nope, already moved on to other body washes!

Some skincare - yay!

Garnier Dark Spot corrector:
I've already got a review up here so I won't talk too much about it. I thoroughly enjoyed this product and loved it as a morning time moisturiser. I found it actually really did help with my acne scarring in lightening it, however it did not totally diminish them. 
Repurchase? I already have!

Origins Super Spot Remover:
I also have a review on this here. I found this a little bit underwhelming probably due to the fact that it was very raved about. It wasn't a bad spot treatment by any means, but I found it didn't clear up spots that quickly, and they still left scars.
Repurchase? Not at the moment, I wouldn't rule it out, but I definitely want to try others first.

Clinique All about eyes eye cream:
Another sample size, however this one lasted legit AGES. I swear, eye cream samples are, like, a full size product in themselves. I found this moisturising and if I put it on on a late night or before an early morning (pretty much if I'm not going to get much sleep) it helped prevent the puffy eyes I tend to get. I don't have problems with dark circles so I can't comment on that.
Repurchase? I've actually got another of these waiting in the wings, but I probably wouldn't purchase it - it's expensive and I like trying new things!

The next three products I spoke about in my Little Luxuries post so I won't ramble too much!

Clinique Moisture surge intense:
Lovely moisturiser! Very light on the skin, but intensely moisturising!
Repurchase? I would consider in the future, however I've got another night cream I'm using now.

SKII Cellumination Essence and Whitening Source Derm Brightener:
Honestly, I didn't notice anything drastic with these products. They are only sample sizes so they didn't have a lot of opportunity to work wonders. I noticed maybe, a slight, brightening effect with the Cellumination Essence, but not much. I'm actually using another of the Cellumination Essence, so we'll see how it goes!
Repurchase? No, they are very expensive and I wasn't impressed with the samples.

Maybelline Baby lips in Mango Pie:
I've finished about five tubes of this stuff (different flavours) and I used to be infatuated! However, I've come to quite dislike the formula. It is quite cream-y as opposed to a gel or a balm and inexplicably it feels weird on my lips, coupled with the scent and taste of the product. Not a bad lip balm at all and I like the inclusion of SPF 15 however I feel I have out grown these!
Repurchase? Maybe in the future, but probably only the menthol flavour as that was my favourite.

Estee Lauder More Than Mascara:
I do believe that this has been discontinued but this was my favourite mascara at one point. I loved the very natural, fluttery lash look it gave me with no clumps in sight! It didn't flake or smudge on me and I absolutely love the wand. I do think that this has a nourishing formula for the lashes? I actually did notice that my baby lashes grew quicker with this (maybe it's my imagination?).

Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer:
This was a smaller size and I enjoyed using it. I found it quite long wearing however it did accentuate dry patches as it wore. It was suitable under the eyes and on blemishes, however like I said it did cling to dry skin.
Repurchase? No, there are many other concealers I would like to try!

I wouldn't typically include sachet samples but I thought I would share my thoughts on these.

Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu brightening serum:
This 2mL sample lasted me quite a little while though and I have to say I quite liked this! It smelled of oranges which was very enjoyable. I didn't love that it left my face feeling sticky though. In terms of brightening, suprisingly I think it did help miniscule-ly in fading dark spots. 
Purchase? Probably not, at least not until I get my hands on a few more samples.

Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator:
I had two of these so I have a resigned opinion on them. I was very excited to use these as they contain AHAs (exfoliating acids) which I've wanted to try for a while, however these sort of did nothing for me. I didn't feel any sensation that indicated that they were working, and my skin texture nor appearance improved after use. Humph.
Purchase? No

The stuff I'm clearing out are pretty much a bunch of lipglosses and a mascara. The mascara is the Maybelline Sky High Curves which has long since been discontinued. It left my lashes a clumpy mess with little length, volume or curl. The lipglosses are mostly sticky and yuk (Model Co and Lancome Juicy Tube minis) or old and yuk (Designer brands). The Designer Brands ones actually weren't that sticky but I've had them for long enough, and the shades are too sparkly for my liking.

WHEW. That was a long ass empties post. If you made it to the end CONGRATS. I realise I wouldn't repurchase the majority of these products which is sad, but I absolutely love trying new things and hardly bog myself down to one product and a lot of these didn't work too well for me, and I feel there are better ones out there yet to be tried! And so, we wait for the next empties to roll around...


Smelly Sunday | Meow

Hi guys, and so another Smelly Sunday rolls around! Today I'll be featuring what was my first ever (pretty much) perfume purchase! I was living off of minis for a long time there... It is a celebrity fragrance from Katy Perry. It is her second release, Meow. 

I've had this one for quite a while actually, probably over a year. I'm quite a big Katycat and knew that I wanted to buy one of her fragrances. Her first release was Purr, more of a floral fragrance. Meow is a lot sweeter and was inspired by her fantasy land of Candyfornia. 

According to Fragrantica, Meow has notes of "tangerine, pear, jasmine and gardenia; the heart are honeysuckle, lily of the valley and orange blossom, while the sweet base features aromas of amber, vanilla, sandalwood and musk"

First of all, this is a VERY sweet perfume, and definitely will not be to everyone's taste. My mum certainly says this scent gives her a headache! It is very strong and quite heavy. I can detect a very vanilla-ry and musky scent with a vague fruity hint. I find this scent is best suited to night time, or in the cooler months as for me, I like it best with heavy jumper and scarf attire.

Despite being such a heady fragrance and an Eau de Parfum, I don't find it lasts a particularly long time. I find it lasts strongly for about five hours, but if applied in the morning, it's usually gone by night.

The bottles for her perfumes are very cute. Katy is a big lover of cats (if you couldn't tell already!). Meow is housed in a milky pink cat shaped bottle, with jewel eyes and a collar with an 'M' charm. The head pulls off to reveal the 'spritzer'. I find though that the head is very loose, and I would not recommend lifting the perfume by the head, for fear of it falling! The back also has an adorable cat tail! Something that annoys the perfectionist in me, is the two different tones of gold/metal. The collar is like a purply-gunmetal whereas the base is rose gold? I would have preferred all one colour, but hey, that's just me!

While I don't think that this scent is for everyone, I do enjoy it! Do I regret purchasing the 100mL, yes a little bit... haha. It was quite cheap though (it was more cost efficient to buy the bigger bottle!), but I don't think I will ever finish it! I am very excited though for Katy to launch her third fragrance, Killer Queen, as the bottle looks absolutely stunning and so opulent!

Are you a fan of the Katy Perry fragrances, or celebrity fragrances in general?


Masquerade Parade

Hello! Today I have a post to showcase all of my purifying masks. They are all clay-based and I have one higher end, and a couple cheaper ones. I thought I would compare them and share my thoughts on each of them individually!

The three clarifying face masks in my collection are Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, Origins Clear Improvement and Garnier Pure 3in1. All three are mainly clay-based, kaolin clay to be exact, which is well known for its ability to draw impurities like dirt, dead skin cells, residue and other toxins from the skin without stripping the skin of its moisture. I find these sorts of masks are absolutely amazing for detoxifying the skin. I use a purifying mask at least twice a week to help rid my skin of any makeup buildup as well as other nasties that may have taken up residence. All three also help with reducing oil as well! I believe all skin types can benefit from using these sorts of face masks as thoroughly clean skin leads to clear skin!

I have a full review on the Origins Clear Improvement mask here so I won't dwell on it for too long. This is definitely my favourite of the three, whilst also being the most expensive. I find that it cleans the skin extremely well and does indeed draw out all impurities. Not only am I left with much cleaner and fresher feeling skin, but it also looks calmed with reduced redness and a brighter look in general. 

The Garnier Pure 3in1 is actually, as the name suggests, a three in one product. It can be used as a face wash, scrub and mask. I personally only use it as a scrub and a mask. I feel that the texture is too gritty and abrasive to be used as a regular wash, but works really well as a scrub. Often, while in the shower, I scrub my face with this and leave it on for a little bit then wash it off. Afterwards my skin feels clean and softer after use as a scrub, and I feel it helps with acne with the inclusion of salicylic acid. Like I said, this has a grit to it, but isn't too harsh (assuming that your aren't physically scrubbing the heck out of your face). There are a lot of beads (they pretty much make up the whole paste) in a creamy base. The benefit of this as a mask is that it only needs to be left on for 3-5 minutes, perfect for if you need a quick fix or mid-week pick me up. I feel that the results produced are similar to the Origins but to a lesser scale as it's used for a shorter amount of time. But I feel it gives clean skin, reduced redness and a brighter complexion.

The Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is very popular in the beauty community. It is praised for being very helpful with acne and the fact that it is so incredibly cheap, the cheapest I own but coming with the most product. It strongly smells, looks and tastes (I kid, I haven't eaten it) like toothpaste. It has almost a heavy mousse like texture, that is really easy to spread over the skin. I think though, that I may have had much too high expectations for this product as it left me a little disappointed. That and I only started using this after becoming well acquainted with the Origins, which blew me away. I feel that if this were the first mask I tried, I would have loved it. However, it is nowhere as near as good as the Origins, or even the Garnier, in my opinion. After use, my skin does feel clean and my acne feels slightly better, but I didn't see anything drastic from it. It doesn't give me the multiple benefits I get from the others. It's by no means a bad product, it works perfectly average for me, and considering I only paid about $4 for it, I think it's a really good budget buy.

Garnier, Origins, Queen Helene
So in my particular experience, you get what you pay for. The Origins comes in at $34 as my favourite, the Garnier is around $12 (though constantly on sale) as my second fave - also because I really like it as a scrub, and the Queen Helene, my least favourite at only $4 from iHerb.com. I do use the Queen Helene very regularly though, about once a week on Mondays, and the Origins on Fridays. I think this little treatment routine has vastly helped with the state of my skin!

I think next on my list is the Aesop Parsley seed mask! 
What is your favourite clarifying mask? Any recommendations?


All that is Gold does not Glitter

Hi guys! Today I have to share one of my favourite eyeshadows! This was my first MAC eyeshadow and it's in the shade All that Glitters. And yes, I did take the opportunity to reference The Lord of the Rings in the title - I freaking love that stuff. :D

The packaging is nice and practical, albeit a little big considering it only holds 1.3g of product. It shuts securely and I like that the top is clear so that you can see the shade inside.

All that Glitters has a Veluxe Pearl finish. I'm not totally educated on the different eyeshadow finishes that MAC do, but I believe the Veluxe Pearls are shimmery, pearly, bordering metallic shadows. 

It is a beautiful shade which does get a lot of hype and I believe is one of their best selling eyeshadows. All that Glitters is a pinky-beigey-bronze shade with a golden edge. It's gorgeous all over the lid. I think it looks amazing on its own - blended into the crease. It's one of those multi-dimensional shades that looks different in different angles and lighting. In the crease it looks slightly darker. I like to think it sort of looks like a beige sunset on the eye!

The formula is very smooth and doesn't kick up a lot of powder. I will admit, it's not the most pigmented of shadows - it's not by any means chalky, or lacking in pigment but it isn't like BABAM COLOUR type thang. That doesn't bother me in any way as it is super easy to blend and it looks flawless on the eyes! Wear time is pretty typical if you have a primer on (I feel that all eyeshadows are great if you have a good primer!) - no creasing or fading.

It's a bit hard to see the colour in the swatches, so I do apologise! But the shade is beautiful nonetheless and I recommend having a swatchy-swatch instore if you haven't already!

I absolutely adore this shadow and it's definitely one of my most used. However, I don't feel I'll be running out and purchasing any other MAC shadows, because they are SO exorbitantly priced and they aren't the most amazing formula I've tried. MAC eyeshadows retail for AUD$33 in the clam shell compact with only 1.3g of product.

What is your favourite MAC eyeshadow?


Iced Delights

Hey guys! Today I have a review on a little gift set from MAC that was available a few years ago and isn't right now. However, two of the items included are permanent in the brand so I thought I would share them with you all! It is the Pure Drama Iced Delights lip and nail bag from their 2011 Holiday collection. 

The set contains a lipstick, lip gloss and nail polish. The lipstick is in the shade Hang Up (permanent), the lipglass is in Frozen Lame which I do believe was limited edition and the mini nail polish is in the shade Vintage Vamp (permanent). As you can tell, the two more coloured products are quite vampy and perfect for the Autumn/Winter season - which we are nearing the end of!

Hang Up has a cremesheen finish which is more so known for being a creamy, moisturising and sheeny lip colour, and not totally full on colour. However, Hang Up has really great pigmentation, not totally opaque, but considering how deep of a shade it is is understandable. It is a deep and bold maroon-wine shade. It is very comfortable on the lips and wears quite well. It isn't very long lasting - especially not to the caliber of an Amplified finish. The shade is beautiful and despite being so deep, it's very wearable!

Frozen Lame is a lipglass from MAC and as you saw in my haul - I went pretty crazy for the lipglosses (so unlike me, I know!). This formulation is definitely my least favourite, being the most sticky. It's not crazy uncomfortable on the lips and definitely not the point where your lips stick together and strings start to form when you part them (gross...) but, for sure, there is a stick. Due to the stickiness, it is on the long lasting side of the lip gloss spectrum. So I'm willing to deal with the stickiness, seeing as I get the wear out of it too! The shade itself is clear packed full with silver shimmers - not glittery or particularly sparkly but fine shimmers. When worn on its own, it gives a lovely affect to the lips - sort of nudey and shimmery and shiny. Of course when layered it adds shimmer to the colour beneath!

MAC is not very well known for their nail polishes - they have a bad rep with their creams in particular known for being a horrible streaky mess. I definitely didn't have high hopes for Vintage Vamp and it isn't the best formula I've tried, but it's not horrible. It is a little streaky, but with two coats it applies smoothly to full opacity. I've been wearing it on my toes for a good few weeks (keeping in mind polishes last about for-EVER on my toes) and it's still looking really good. The colour runs along the same lines as the lipstick, a deep, vampy maroon shade.

2 coats, no topcoat

The set also comes with a bag, which is very cute! It is made of clear, plastic-y material with a silvery pocket on the front, and a zip closure. It's not the most practical makeup bag being circular in shape, but I'll find a use for it!

Considering I only picked up this set for $15, I really like it! The lipstick and nail polish are perfect for the colder months, and surprisingly I really like the lip gloss! The limited edition packaging is very cute too.

Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts on MAC nail polishes and lip glosses?


NOTD | Pastel Pixels

Hey Guys! I've got a NOTD for you all today! This one is slightly Spring inspired, I cannot wait for the warmer weather to arrive! That, and I just really love pastel colours.

The look features a skittle-ish manicure using multiple pastel shades, with a glitter topcoat over all of them. The star of the show is definitely the glitter topcoat which is OPI Lights of Emerald City. It contains large white square glitters and smaller irridescent squares suspended in a clear base. It looks absolutely gorgeous on the nail however the formula leaves a lot to be desired. There isn't a good clear polish to glitter ratio (if you know me in real life, I love ma ratios) as there is way to much polish and it is quite thick. So, you don't get very much glitter on the nail and too much clear polish. It was a bit of a pain to apply and there was quite a bit of fishing to get a minimum amount of glitters.

All three of the pastel polished are from China Glaze. I wasn't sure which to layer under the glitter, so I did all of them! They are Peachy Keen, Something Sweet and Refresh Mint. I absolutely love these pastel shades and they go together really well. The formula on these is quite consistent. They take two coats to opacity, the first is a bit streaky, but the second evens everything out. 

The mani wore really well for about 4 days, no chips, topped with Revlon Colorstay Topcoat as almost always. It leaves a glassy, smooth finish and helps the wear time.

I really love this mani and I think it is so pretty! Next time I'll try layering the glitter over something darker so that both the irridescent and white glitters pop and contrast more. But, overall, I'm super excited to get back into pastels and Spring makeup!

What's your favourite pastel nail polish?