Monthly Favourites // February 2014

The shortest month of the year is near its end, and so comes the Autumn season! I'm not sure if I'm that excited for the cooler months, but since it has been SO bloody hot here, I'm definitely ready for a break. I'm here to bring you my collection of favourite products for the month. I don't have very many, but I do have some new products and some rediscovered.

Sanctuary Spa Brightening Facial Radiance Exfoliator
My scrub of choice for the month. I've been using this 2-3 times a week and have been enjoying it. I'd say it's medium on the scale of abrasive-ness, it's composed of a gel base and scrubby granules as well as fruit extracts to help chemically exfoliate. The granules aren't very dense though, so I find myself using more product than usual (maybe 1.5 peas?). My skin feels very soft after use though, in terms of brightening, I'm yet to see significant result.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara
For the days I've been wearing mascara it was most often this one. I really like that the brush is thin(ish) but still very bristly and grabs all the lashes. It lengthens, defines and thickens the lashes, looking very natural and without clumping. It says with "fibres" but I actually don't notice that it contains any.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in the shade Medium
I've been thoroughly enjoying this concealer lately. It's much quicker and more convenient that having to dip from a pan. The shade is a good match, it has a good coverage (not totally full though) and works well for both under the eyes and around the face, without accentuating dry patches.

Topshop Head over Heels, theBalm Frat Boy

I've been on a serious peachy-pink blush kick this month (aren't I always though?) and I pretty much wore these two exclusively. Before this month, I hadn't worn HOH for so long mainly because I never really knew the best way to apply it. I've since found the best brush to apply this cream-to-powder with (which I will talk about next). I also wasn't wearing Frat Boy nearly as much as I should have been as it's in a palette which I keep in my eye drawer and always forget about when it comes to applying blush. I made a point of putting the palette on top of my daily makeup storage after seeing it in so many b/vloggers favourites and have worn it so much since. It actually pulls a lot more peach when applied to my face, it's also very long lasting!

Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush
I recently made a few purchases off of iHerb (my sister was making an order) and picked up a few of the RT things I've been wanting. This is in the Travel Essentials kit and what I've been using to apply the Topshop blush as well as my face powder. Lily Pebbles recently described it as being a mix between the Blush brush and the Buffing brush, and I couldn't agree more! It is still fluffy, but is also a bit more dense than the blush brush. It's density picks up the product really well, but it's fluffiness blends it out effortlessly. I don't use this for more pigmented blushes though as I think it's probably a bit too dense.

Australis Fresh & Flawless Pressed Powder in the shade Darkest Brown
A long time fave right here and one that I've been reaching for pretty much everyday this month. It's perfect for topping off BB creams or sheerer coverage foundations. It sets and mattifies with a natural matte finish and adds a tad more coverage. It's a very soft, and creamy powder that never looks cakey or powdery on the skin.

Chvrches The Bones of What you Believe
Lastly I have a music favourite! I've been listening to this album pretty much on repeat for the month. A band I discovered through the Triple J Hottest Hundred (which I've also been loving listening to) and one that I pretty much fell in love with immediately! I love their style of synthpop and their songs are seriously awesome. Not a single one on the album I don't like. It's been making studying a lot less dreary!


NOTD // Stop the Press for Audrey

It's Nail of the Day time! I have another glittery combo today, but matte glitter instead of your typical reflective glitters. It features Ulta3 Stop the Press which came out in their Glitterati collection sometime last year. I decided to pair it with one of my favourite polishes (which is a cult favourite from the brand) China Glaze For Audrey.

Matte glitters were originally a concept you could only find in Indie polishes, but recently have started to filter into more mainstream brands, and the drugstore. Currently, matte glitters don't have a heavy presence in Australian drugstores, but hopefully that will change as many brands have started to bring them out in the US. Stop the Press contains matte black and white hexagonal glitters in two sizes in a clear base. There isn't any glitter fishing required and you get a good coverage in one coat (shown above), but with more of a dabbing motion. Black and white glitters pretty much go with any shade underneath, whether they be super bright, neon shades or light pastels. You could even top off a neutral or grey shade for a more subtle look. They add interest to the nail and almost give a splattered effect from far away. 

For Audrey is of course a cult favourite from the brand due to its not-so-secret resemblance to the Tiffany & Co turquoise, robin egg blue shade. It's such a pretty colour! It's a creamy shade with a good formula, opaque in two coats with no streaking or uneven application. It also doesn't stain the nails.

I really, really enjoyed this mani and will definitely be wearing Stop the Press again with a few more shades.

What are your thoughts on the matte glitter trend?


Nicki & Ricky

Today I have a rather long overdue review of a set that I purchased around July last year in my Estee Lauder Corporate Store haul. It is the MAC Viva Glam it Up Lip bag which contains two full size lip products; MAC Viva Glam Nicki lipstick and Lip Conditioner.

The bag included in the set is a rather small pouch about the size of my hand. It has a coin purse style closure. It's pretty cute with red leopard print and black lace on the inside. It is lined both inside and out with a plastic-y material which is easily wiped down in case of any spillages. It's a cute bag but too small to really hold much.

The main thing that drew me to this set was the lipstick in the shade Viva Glam Nicki. I'd seen and heard a lot about this shade in the blogosphere and swatched it a few times in store. Touted as a bright, coral-toned, neon barbie pink, it certainly sounded unique, and in true Nicki Minaj style. It's definitely a bold and bright lipstick and yet still wearable for I think many skintones, as opposed to a blue-toned barbie pink which can be unflattering on some. For me, Viva Glam Nicki swatches differently to what you see in the tube. The tube shade is more of the aforementioned coral pink, but when swatched it comes out more like a true, barbie pink, with little coral or peach tones. This is probably due to the yellow tones of my skin contrasting, making the cooler tones of the pink come out. It's still wearable but I wish the yellow tones would come out more as I much prefer that shade. I often alter it to my liking by mixing it with a peachier lipstick which takes a bit more effort but lends me a shade closer to the what's in the bullet. It is definitely a very striking shade and one that I've worn a few times this past Spring/Summer season.

This shade has a Satin formula which is quite full colour in opacity and somewhere between a matte and an amplified finish; semi-matte with no glossiness or drying feeling. I've never tried a matte lipstick from MAC but I find an amplified finish is ever so slightly glossier (but what I still consider semi-matte) with a touch more creaminess. The satin is comfortable on the lips and is pretty long wearing but will need touching up after eating. I find with this particular shade as well with the formula, it's best to have well exfoliated and moisturised lips beforehand. It doesn't cling to dry patches very badly at all but it definitely looks better on properly prepped lips.

The MAC Lip Conditioner was actually a bit of a fail for me - and for multiple reasons. The texture is quite a thin, light feeling balm that applies quite glossy to the lips. I feel that the conditioner absorbs very quickly to the lips but doesn't offer the same immediate feeling of properly nourished lips. They only feel moisturised temporarily before the need to reapply. I found myself wanting to reapply very often throughout the day as my lips were not feeling very nourished. They weren't dry or chapped feeling but they weren't nourished either. No matter how often I applied it, I didn't really feel like it did anything. On top of that, I think this may have triggered my itchy lip issue that I had last year. I haven't tried it since but I did notice it began around the time I was using this product. I don't have any desire to use this again for fear of the rash flaring up again and also because I simply don't find this to be an effective lip balm at all. It has the typical MAC vanilla scent which I did love when applying but sadly I was sorely disappointed with this product.

Have you tried either of these lippies? If so, what did you think?


Plushie Pink

Max Factor is not a brand I have a lot of experience with. The product I'm reviewing today is actually my first makeup product from them. I'm fairly certain that Max Factor and Covergirl are owned by the same company (I think I heard that from Fleur de Force) and considering Max Factor is quite a bit more expensive, I never really gave them much of a look. Though their Miracle Touch Creamy Blush is a product unique to their line and one that has been raved about by many a beauty blogger. I don't believe it's available in Australia yet (I've never encountered it in store and it's not on their website) so when I saw it in Sasa, I snatched it up.

Swatched, Blended

I have the shade Soft Pink which is a medium pink shade with warm rose-y tones. I find this to be a very wearable, natural looking pink that brightens the face and gives it a youthful looking flush. It also looks lovely on the lips!

The texture of this cream blush is really nice. It's creamy and emollient without being too slippy or thin. The finish stays creamy, it ain't one of those cream-to-powder formulas. It isn't overly dewy on the skin though, it has more of a satin, semi matte finish to the skin which I think helps it not melt immediately off of the face. It still gives a natural, skin-like glow. However, it still isn't the longest lasting of blushes. Typically on my combination skin, I find that cream blushes only last for around four hours and this one is no exception. It does have one of the better lasting powers though. The pigmentation is also really good and doesn't require too much building. It blends easily into the skin and I like applying it with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush though fingers are also good. It does have a bit of a lipstick-y smell to it which makes me think it probably has similar ingredients to a lipstick. Regardless, it still works very well as both a blush and a lipstick, only slightly clinging to dry patches on the lips. This is though, probably one of the best cream blush formulas I've tried as it's has the best of almost all the factors.

The blush is packaged in a really tiny circular pan with a screw top lid. I like that there isn't any unnecessary bulk to the packaging but what does annoy me is that the amount of product inside isn't listed! The size could be incredibly deceiving, or it could contain just as small as an amount that it looks.

Have you tried the Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush? What's your favourite cream blush?


The Silent Zone

Today I have a couple of eyeshadow palettes to review that probably every single beauty blogger and vlogger owns, the Wet n Wild Coloricon Eyeshadow palettes. I don't think there is a single person who wasn't amazed by the quality of these shadows, for their very low price - and in general really. I have two palettes to review today, their eight pan in Comfort Zone and trio in Silent Treatment

The packaging is nothing spectacular, you get what you expect with the price you pay. It's functional, rather sturdy with no excess, unnecessary bulk. The clear lids allow the shades inside to be easily seen and they snap shut quite securely. Both palettes come with a brush and sponge tip which will probably end up in the bin. The backs of both palettes, as well as the names embossed into the shadows will help any beginners with shadow placement and in the case of the eight pan, suggestions for different looks. 

I'm sure you have all heard about the formula of these shades somewhere in your journeys through the beauty blogosphere. Pigmented, soft and smooth they are described as being, and I for one have to agree! They are extremely soft to the touch but are not crumbly at all, but are a tad powdery and have little fallout. Their metallic shades are very shiny and are certainly eye catching. Their lasting power is pretty standard (I don't find eyeshadows to really vary in wear time, as long as I have a good primer). I knew that the formula of these shadows would be good but I still seem to be impressed by them! In comparison to higher end shadows like Lorac, I find these to be slightly less smooth and buttery but still offer similar pigmentation.

In sunlight

The left side of the Comfort Zone palette is very neutral with pretty, romantic brown hues.

Browbone: A light champagne, cream shade with a frosty, almost iridescent finish.
Eyelid: A light bronzed-pink shade that almost takes on a bit of a rose gold look. It has a metallic finish.
Crease: A medium bronzed-brown shade with a metallic finish.
Definer: A dark, mid-toned brown with a satin-matte finish at its base with coppery red sparkles.

In sunlight

The right side of the palette is comprised of olivey-green shades but still keeps to the neutral theme.

Browbone: An interesting shade that is more of a green toned, light grey with a frost finish.
Eyelid: An olive toned, medium green shade with a metallic finish.
Crease: A very dark, almost black, forest green which is satin-matte at its base, with golden-green sparkles.
Definer: A stunner of a shade! It is a red brown with a strong blue-green colour shift. It is mainly metallic and bears resemblance to MAC's duochrome shade in Club.

The combination of shades in Comfort Zone is certainly lovely. You can stay neutral and light, or go quite deep and smokey as well as incorporating a bit of colour into the look, whilst staying neutral. My one issue with the shades is that they are all some form of metallic or frost which can be quite overwhelming on the eye. Unless I'm doing a single shadow look, I find it hard to stick to the palette as I simply need some matte shades to break up the shimmer. I've taken photos of the swatches in sunlight so you can see just how shimmery they are.

In sunlight

Silent Treatment is a trio of shades that are slightly cooler leaning towards the taupe-y side of neutral.

Browbone: A light icy pink shade with a silver frost finish.
Crease: A dark, cool brown that is almost black. It has a satin-matte finish at its base and golden sparkles scattered throughout. A similar finish to the left Definer and right Crease shades from Comfort Zone.
Eyelid: A taupe-y mushroom grey shade with slight purple tones. It has a metallic finish.

A very versatile palette indeed as within just these three shades you can have a very light eye look or a deep smokey one. Though I prefer warm eyeshadow shades, I cannot deny how pretty these ones are!

I do think I would look into getting a few more shades sometime in the future, but for the meantime these ones are serving me well! I agree with everyone else that these are certainly amazing for their price!


Berry Brûlée

Hi guys! I have a lip product review for you all today. I'll be featuring one of the limited edition Face of Australia Glossy Lip Crayons. They have seven shades in total, of which I have Berry Brulee. These retail for a measly AUD$4.95 so definitely some of the cheapest lip crayons on the market right now! When FOA's first lip crayons came out in the pack of three, I remember every Aussie blogger bought them, me included (not that I was a blogger back then)! That pack was probably among the first beauty things I purchased, though I never really loved the shades it included. 

The packaging is pretty similar to your typical chubby-type lip crayon product. It has a twist up mechanism and the tube is the same colour as the product inside. My only complaint is that the lid doesn't snap shut, so I'm always afraid that it might slip off. It is pretty tight though.

The formula of these does vary slightly to the original trio. I find these a quite a bit more pigmented but with slightly more of a juicy translucency.The texture is pretty much the same, except that this one is slightly more glossy. It feels balmy and very thin on the lips and almost looks like a gloss with its juicy translucency. I absolutely adore the way it feels on my lips, it is quite a bit moisturising and smooths over any dryness and doesn't accentuate flakes! It is very comfortable to wear and feels very soft, plush and emollient, almost as if it has 'melted' into my lips.With this particular shade, I find the colour to be quite buildable and you can definitely achieve somewhat of a bold lip with it, or dab it into the lips for more of a stained effect.  I find the longevity of this product to be actually pretty good! I'm not sure if it is exclusive to this shade, but I actually found it to stain my lips slightly. The product wears off well and retains its emolliency so you can blend it into the lips throughout its wear. The product does wear off in the center of the lips (like most products) with eating and will need reapplying. With light eating or drinking it lasts very well.

Berry Brulee is a gorgeous medium berry-toned purple shade that is very wearable and a shade that I am in LOVE with! I think this shade would be appropriate for all seasons as it still has a brightness fit for the warmer months and obviously the berry tone is typical for Autumn and Winter. 

Considering how affordable these are, I definitely recommend grabbing them while you can! This has honestly become one of my favourite lippies as the formula is lovely and the colour is a stunner!

Have you picked up any of these lip crayons?


Empties #3

The third installment of my empties posts is probably long overdue (it's been about four or five months since my last one), but alas I don't have a huge collection of empty products to share. I just don't finish things very quickly! I don't get how people can accumulate bags full of empties after only a month. Anyways I thought I would share the products I've run out of recently and my thoughts on them.

Organic Everescents Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner
My mum won these in a pack from her hairdresser and she gave them to me as she prefers volumising products. I really enjoyed these! The are fully free of silicones, sulfates and parabens and are made up of really good ingredients. Also, the packaging is made out of recycled plastic! I didn't find these intensively moisturising, but they did leave my hair feeling soft and clean. The shampoo lathered pretty well despite being sulphate free.
Repurchase? Probably not as they are quite expensive and there are other sulphate free shampoos/conditioners that I would like to try.

Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion
A nice, basic body moisturiser. It's a nice thin, lotion consistency that sinks in and absorbs into the skin quite quickly. It has a lovely clean scent too. My skin was soft and nourished after use and for the day following.
Repurchase? Probably

I really liked this for a basic but intensively moisturising night cream. It wasn't too heavy or greasy feeling on the skin and absorbed reasonably quickly. It left my skin feeling very moisturised and soft in the morning, and I had pretty much no dry patches while I was using this!
Repurchase? Not at the moment, though possibly in the future.

I really loved this toner! It felt like a nice clarifying toner but contained really lovely ingredients that left my skin feeling refreshed rather that tight or dry.
Repurchase? Probably in the future!

Estee Lauder Idealist
A couple of samples I finished up that lasted me quite a while actually. I used it both as a slight (and subtle) illuminator mixed in, and a morning time serum. It was a pleasure to use and felt lovely on the skin though I don't really think it yielded any long term results in terms of brightening or evening out the skin tone.
Repurchase? No

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion
I had a sample of this which lasted a decent while. I used this on any cystic or under-the-skin pimples which is what it is designed for. I found it did work really well on them, helping bringing them to the surface quicker and reducing any pain. Whether I found it to be more effective than your standard spot treatment...I don't think I had enough to truly ascertain.
Repurchase? Maybe, I might get another sample first.

Holy grail product. Helps clear up my acne as well as prevent it. I'm halfway through my second tube and have a third waiting in the wings.
Repurchase? Definitely!

Beauty Care Co Makeup Remover Pads
These are the cheapest cotton pads I've seen around - 200 for $2. Granted, they're not the best quality. They are thin and do fall apart quite easily, but for me they do the job. I'm not really fussed at all and honestly will grab the cheapest I can get. I've finished about three (100 pads per) packs and am working on one more right now.
Repurchase? Probably, unless I find something cheaper.

Beauty Care Co Green Tea Facial Wipes
These are a little on the dry side, but the towelettes themselves are decently soft and don't irritate my face or eyes. They remove everything bar waterproof mascara. I still go in with a cleanser as they don't completely clean my face, and definitely don't get deep down into the skin. These are also $2.
Repurchase? I'm halfway through another pack and unless I find something cheaper I'll probably buy them again.

Michika Complexion Synergist Facial Mask
My first experience with sheet masks and I quite liked using these. I still have three left. They left my skin feeling very soft and I do think it offered slight instantaneous brightening effects. Thye did sting a little in my eyes though, nothing crazy unbearable but just a little bit of irritation.
Repurchase? I'd like to try out other sheet masks before I come back to these.

Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara
Dayum, I'm pretty sure I used every last drop of this! It works well and does the job at a very low price. The packaging is super shoddy though, the spoolie broke off and the lid died a bit. Regardless, it was obviously still useable, albeit a little gross!
Repurchase? Yes - and already have!

I really liked this but when it started to smudge on me and smell a bit funky, I knew it was time to bin it. It contained fibres which made my lashes look longer, and it held a curl like no other! A really lovely mascara!
Repuchase? If I ever have the opportunity again - maybe! Though I will try new ones before returning to this one.

Maybelline The Colossal Volum' Express mascara
I think I've had this WAY too long and it just needed to be binned. It was still useable though but towards the end I didn't notice it doing too much for my lashes. It was a nice mascara but since my lashes are pretty weak to begin with, it didn't have any extraordinary results.
Repurchase? No.

Products getting the chuck:
The Garnier BB cream is pretty atrocious - little coverage, quite orangey and left me very oily. Should have thrown it out long ago! Clinique lipstick that is sheer and frosty. The Napoleon lip glosses I actually really liked, I got them free a few years ago so they're pretty old now and the packaging was leaky and bad. They were a bit sticky too.

Hope you guys enjoyed this empties post! I feel like I might have a few more products next time (maybe) as I'm nearly finished a few.


The Glossover on NYX

I was lucky enough to win Sarah's 500 follower giveaway a while ago which was filled with a bunch of drugstore products, which reviews of have only just started to filter onto the blog (more to come!). Thank you so much Sarah! The pack included quite a few lip products, including a couple of glosses from NYX. These were actually the first NYX products I'd ever tried so I was very excited to have them! 

The NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in the shade Beige is a hot product in the beauty world. I'll get the obligatory "it's not beige, it's pink!" comment out of the way, it is indeed pink with an ill-suited, unimaginative name. I was very excited to try this as I hear so much about it, both colour wise and formula wise. It's boasted as being a superiorly shiny, smooth, pigmented and non-sticky gloss that ticks all of the boxes. I feel that my tube must be defective though, as as soon as I lifted the doe-foot from the tube, I saw the string of gloss - which can usually be associated with a thick, sticky formula. My particular tube's formula is indeed very thick, sticky and in all honesty uncomfortable on the lips. I haven't even bothered to wear it out. It's one of those that's so sticky that it's hard to remove and leaves a gross residue on the lips. It's bearable upon initial application but eventually grows thick, gathering in places and clinging to dry bits that I swear weren't there when I first applied! I know mine is probably a dud tube as I went and swatched these in a Target and they felt much thinner and non-sticky on my hand. I'm pretty sad that mine is a dud tube but I may possibly pick some of these up in the future as I'm still curious about their amazing formula. Also this has a very sweet cherry lolly smell, which I personally dislike.

The colour Beige is a lovely wearable, neutral pink which pulls slightly cool on my lips. I really like it and it actually makes a really good match for Essence All About Cupcake. I'm sure if I could stand the formula, I would be reaching for this daily! The pigmentation is really nice, giving a tint of colour to the lips. I imagine with brighter colours, the gloss would be bolder.

The NYX Butter Glosses have become a recent hit and were in many a blogger/vlogger's 2013 Favourites - including mine! First of all, the name 'butter' in a lip product is just so appealing to me for some reason. The description on the tube is adorable too. Despite the Mega Shine being a fail for me, this guy hit it right out of the park. I'm not exactly sure if this gloss is supposed to be moisturising at all but it definitely feels lovely on the lips. It's extremely smooth with a thickness akin to the MAC Cremesheen lip glosses - but no stickiness at all. It more so feels balmy on the lips but still has a creamy shine to it. It doesn't accentuate any dryness, and it wears extremely well, staying just how it was when first applied for about four hours with no eating! It's certainly one of the best gloss formulas I've encountered. It does have a nice, light sweet smell which I know a lot of people love most about these glosses. It's definitely not as strong as the cherry in the Mega Shine gloss which I do appreciate.

Peaches and Cream is a really pretty pinky-peach which on my lips looks a tad more like a warm pink. The shade is soft yet still bright giving a youthful look to the lips and face. The pigmentation actually really surprised me and it packs a bit of a punch! I would say it's a bit more pigmented than the Mega Shine and can be worn alone or over another product.

Peaches and Cream, Beige

I would definitely be interested in trying some more shades from both ranges - I definitely don't discount the whole Mega Shine range on account of one dud tube. I'm hoping the butter lip balms and lipsticks make their way to Australia too as they sound absolutely lovely!

Have you tried either of these products? What other lippies do you like from NYX?