October Empties 2017

My plan was to delay the empties for another month, after the last couple of months having a light batch, but for some reason October was an explosive month of using stuff up. I was stressed and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things in my possession. Rather than face a tidal wave next month, here’s one group out of the way.

23107586_10155986840670039_186251472_o

The Body Shop Calming Aloe Cream Cleanser – As I’ve mentioned before, this is the only cleanser I know I can trust. Sometimes I use other stuff, and it’s okay for a while, or it underwhelms me in some way. This cleanser has never broken my heart. Repurchase? Of course. Have done.

The Body Shop Vanilla Pumpkin Shower Gel – I had a weird relationship with this particular shower gel. The formula is the usual Body Shop formula which doesn’t freak my skin out, so that was fine. This scent though…Vanilla Pumpkin was a little too heavy on the pumpkin and too light on the vanilla/spice for me, and it had a weird anise note that my nose could not get past. Every time I showered, I was struck by how pumpkiny and savory it smelled. I didn’t care for it, basically. But then toward the end of the bottle, I was suddenly really into it. I liked smelling kind of like a garden? It was so different to the partnering hand cream, for example. Repurchase? Not this scent, probably. I’m fickle.

Sephora Collection Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation – I bought this foundation about a year ago, mostly for the novelty. It had next to no coverage and never felt properly meshed with my skin. It was just a weird slippery layer above my face that got greasy very quickly. And then the nozzle broke, so. Repurchase? No

Sephora Collection Purifying Mattifying Mask – I have had this mask for ages and it’s never been my thing. It’s too much. It’s way too exfoliating and all it’s ever done is dry me out. Every time I’m breaking out, I think “I’ll try it again!” and still, no. Repurchase? No. I don’t think they make this one any more, either.

Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask – I like the way this mask felt, but it smelled absolutely atrocious. I am apparently really not into that raw honey smell, especially when mixed with the charcoal smell. It was a bit nauseating, honestly. And it has long, long gone off. Repurchase? No.

Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black – I wrote about this liner nearly a year ago? It started off decent in quality, but rather than drying out, become watery and streaky. Why didn’t I throw this out when it went bad? I have no idea. I didn’t even know where it was. Repurchase? No. I can’t use anything but the Kat Von D. I’m spoiled.

The Body Shop Lash Hero Mascara – Decent mascara, flakes a little under my eyes, but a good one for everyday natural-but-better lashes. Repurchase? Maybe?

Sukin Hydrating Facial Mask – I loved this mask, but it was too heavy for me to use very often. Made my skin really lovely and soft, though, and a nice change from the charcoal masks. Purchase? I got this in a subscription box, and it had expired (I finally started clearing stuff out), but I might purchase it one day.

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluid – I trust this sunscreen to go on my face and stop me from burning. It’s a new summer and it was time for this guy to get replaced, so a new bottle has been acquired. Once I find a sunscreen that doesn’t hit me with a rash, I am loyal as hell. Repurchase? Hell yes.

L’oreal Infalliable Mattifying Primer – Pretty standard silicone primer. Very good with certain foundations, very average with others. Totally and completely fine. Repurchase? No

NYX Angel Veil Primer – I loved this primer initially, but it definitely changed formula with age and got chunky. Nothing like the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer people compare it to for the inclusion of “veil”, this is thick and smoothing without feeling ultra slippery and like smearing silicone on your face. Repurchase? Only if it comes to Australia or I was in America – I enjoyed it, but not enough to pay more than $26 to get it online.

Tarte Tarteist Clay Paint Liner in Copper – This came in a cute set last Christmas, and while it was gorgeous in colour and smooth in formula, I received one with busted packaging. It was usable – the product came out of the seam rather than from the cap – but it was a pain in the neck to store. I liked it a lot, but I don’t wear this kind of colour liner often enough on my days off. Repurchase? No

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Fiery – This was my go to holiday lip when I first got it, and it’s finally reached the point of grossness and no return. It was a good introduction to lipstick, and one of the first I ever got truly into – it’s a tiny little flat stub. It smells obnoxiously like peppermint, but it was really hydrating and gave a good amount of colour while retaining sheerness. Repurchase? I am pretty sure these have been discontinued? But it would be a no, regardless. I have moved on.

23112964_10155986840635039_1562617825_o

Miniso Soft Cotton Pads 180 Sheets – These are pretty excellent? They’re easier for me to get a hold of than my beloved Target Cotton Rounds, and just as soft. Repurchase? Sure

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation – Some samples of a product I have long, long, long used. I still really like this as a medium-high coverage foundation for lazy days, and it’s a good mixing medium for things that are too light in shade or too clingy, but it’s far too thick for me to feel like using it every day. Purchase? I don’t need any more of this.

Tarte Maracuja Oil – Not my favourite oil. Too greasy and it didn’t smell particularly nice. Purchase? No

Klair’s Midnight Blue Calming Cream – This one I actually liked! I used this on some nights when my skin was particularly dry and bumpy, and it felt soothing and lovely. Probably not rush-out-and-buy-it lovely, but I can imagine how nice it would feel on sunburnt skin. Purchase? Probably not

Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo Foundation and Primer – I wasn’t a fan of either of these. The foundation was the wrong colour, but the formula didn’t give me the coverage I wanted for such a thick and paint-like formula. Purchase? No

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara – Written about here. Lovely for natural, long, defined lashes but  not great for flakiness. A good layering product. Repurchase? Maybe one day, after all of my small mascaras are gone?

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturiser – I liked the smell of this cream, but it tingled a lot on my skin and I wasn’t game to try it beyond the initial patch test. I ended up using it on my chest, where it was fine. Purchase? No

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Mask – I was wary of this based on product reviews, but it ended up being okay on my forehead and nose. Okay in that it didn’t hurt me, but it also didn’t really do anything. I have too many other masks I like. Purchase? No

Burberry Luminous Fluid Base – “Luminous” bases have never been my thing. I don’t like glowing in places I haven’t been intentional with the placement of said glow on. This was a nice enough product, but like many other illuminating base products, it just wasn’t for me. Purchase? What am I, made of money?

Commodity Fragrance in Mimosa – Fresh, a hint floral, a bit crisp. A good, solid summer smell with very little longevity but a nice throw. I have a huge selection of Commodity fragrances to try, and I don’t like this as much as Rain, but those are probably my favourites thus far. Purchase? No

The Body Shop Ginseng and Rice Toner – My favourite mask now has a matching toner? I don’t splurge on toners, but this is a beautiful one if I were going to. It smells like heaven and doesn’t leave behind any residue. Purchase? Maybe, should I ever run out of toner.

The Body Shop Green Tea Cleansing Hair Scrub – Nice to get junk out of your hair, but also really stubborn hair dye and bumpy clumps of scalp. I’ve been prepping my hair to go pastel, so I’m really working to pull out all of the blue that I can. Purchase? Maybe

Lush Buck’s Fizz Skin Conditioner – I liked this the most of all the Lush skin conditioners I have tried, but I was never a huge fan of Ro’s Argan or African Paradise. It makes my skin soft but thankfully not too slippery afterwards. Purchase? No

Fenty Beauty Foundation in 120 – My first impressions of this foundation are here. In the long run, some days it looked beautiful and other days it caught on to every bit of dryness it could find. The shade was too light and it honestly wasn’t as wonderful as I had hoped. Now the highlighters and glosses, on the other hand…Purchase? No

Advertisements

Lipglosses I Suddenly Own (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gloss)

I have never liked lipgloss.

Even as a child in the height of lipgloss madness in the late 90s, I hated how sticky my strawberry kiwi Bonne Bell lip gloss was and how my hair would get stuck to it and would take a lip smacker over the gloss any day.

As a makeup enthusiast, I have heard the whispers for a while now. I knew that gloss was coming back, but I was pretending I couldn’t hear those whispers. I clutched my matte liquid lipsticks ever closer to my chest. Until a couple of months ago, I didn’t have a single lipgloss in my admittedly vast lip product collection.

Of course, you’ve seen the header photo for this post. I blame Rihanna. Gloss has been coming back for a long time, but something about the lipgloss that launched with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line lodged in my brain. At the same time, The Body Shop launched some glosses. Naturally, I started wearing glosses daily – Apple Taffy became my go-to, thanks to my retail job – and then glosses were my wholly my thing.

And so the quest for the perfect gloss began. Let’s follow it, in chronological order.

The Body Shop Shine Lip Liquid in Apple Taffy and Cherry Gum – These are cheap, and they look lovely – Apple Taffy in particular – but they don’t wear long enough to be the perfect gloss (though they’re better than some). Still, they leave colour deposited well and they give a great level of shine, and they’re very comfortable. I don’t worry so much about stickiness, because my hair is almost always up when I’m working.  The applicator is the best thing about these? More glosses with this applicator. Apple Taffy is a very nude neutral, but not ultra opaque, and Cherry Gum is a bright pinky red.

Winky Lux Glossy Boss in Truffle – Truffle is a deep nude colour, and colour wise it is perfect. It is also one of the highest shine glosses I’ve tried, which was what I was looking for initially – that editorial, high shine nude, and this won out of all the ones at Mecca Maxima. The problem with this gloss is that it is wicked sticky. I don’t mind a little sticky, but aside from the Too Faced Melted Latex, I have never put a stickier product to my lips.

NYX Lip Lustre Glossy Lip Tint in Ruby Couture – This isn’t super glossy, but I like the marriage of a little gloss with a lot of colour and a decent tint on the lips. I was satisfied by how nicely this sat on my lips. This will probably be my low effort lip colour this summer, because it’s a basic red with an easy finish.

Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in Flesh Riot – I went to swatch and probably buy the Fenty gloss, having finally decided that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and of course it was sold out at all of the Sydney Sephora stores. The closest thing, it seemed, was this gloss by Smith & Cult, though it has a bit more pigment to it – it’s a nude gloss with a beautiful gold shimmer right through it. This one is beautiful on the lips, and perfect in consistency – not sticky, very shiny – but doesn’t wear very long.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen, Orchid and Vamp – I actually acquired one of these before any of the other glosses – Orchid was free at a Sephora opening a while back, but I was so grossed out by glosses that I hadn’t even opened it. These are the platonic ideal of a gloss, but I find myself shying away from them because they smell very strongly of fake vanilla. Like – very strongly. Kristen is a perfect pink-toned nude, Orchid is a bright violet, and Vamp is a very browned deep red.  I appreciate the range of colours and the shine of them, and the wear time is decent.

Fenty Beauty Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter in Gal on The Moon – I adore this gloss. This is, not shockingly, my favourite gloss. It is so glittery and weird and I adore it. It’s basically a sheer violet base with a bunch of blue glitter in it and my god, you know I love weird glittery stuff. This was an absolute impulse purchase and I messed up. Layered over lipstick, though, or a nude liner – my god. Force of nature.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow – And finally, I caved and ordered this online, based on the recommendation and swatches of a wonderful friend of mine. My god, it is stunning. It’s thick and ultra glossy and strangely plumping in aesthetics, but not in feeling, without having any dominant colour other than a sheer rosiness.

I regret…nothing? I regret some things. I regret the Winky Lux gloss; I probably didn’t need those colours of the Anastasia glosses. But apparently I’m into gloss now.

I’m still a matte girl. I like my lips as dry and unwelcoming as the rest of my persona. Searching for myself through glosses has been a journey, and I’ve learnt about what I like and what I don’t. I think I’m at current max gloss.

Two Months of Junk – August/September Empties 2017

Despite holding out on this for two months, not a whole lot is going on. I guess that’s a relief? Let’s look at a whole bunch of shower gels!

22217846_10155908211615039_519175571_o

The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Shower Gel – Good, sweet, smells like jam, doesn’t dry my skin out. I last used one up in June 2016, so this will presumably keep coming round. I’ve become used to this formula and now my skin instantly dries out with any other shower gels. Repurchase? When it comes back, I might pick up one. It’s not an all time favourite, but it’s nice enough.

The Body Shop Pinita Colada Shower Gel – I finally used the last of my sale stash of pinita colada shower gels! I love the Body Shop cocktail smells – this is second to Virgin Mojito in my all time favourites, but it’s up there. Both of them are coming back to Australia this summer, so I’ll probably stock up again, and then my showers can be cocktail scented forever. Confessions of a shower gel hoarder. Repurchase? Absolutely.

The Body Shop Olive Shower Gel – You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. It took me a solid year of Body Shop shower gels before I got into the olive scent, and then I realised that it was actually the best of the main body shop scents. It’s fresh and clean but also a little soft and slightly woody? I love it. Naturally, it’s been discontinued and this was my last bottle. Damn, two months of shower gel usage went a bit wild. Repurchase? If they bring Olive back as a limited edition, I’ll be all over it.

Lush Plum Rain Shower Gel – As I mentioned, my skin has become strangely conditioned to Body Shop shower gels which thankfully don’t dry it out, but nearly everything else seems to make me itch. Lush is a particular offender, as lovely as this one was to sniff (my mum picked it up from the flagship London store). It was so nice smelling, but it made me so squeaky and itchy. What a bummer. I ended up mostly using it on my hands. Repurchase? No

Beautyblender – My original beauty blender finally kicked it! Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly vigilant about giving it any deep cleaning and just rinsed it here and there. Still, it’s about a year old and I used it mostly for cream contouring, so it was getting pretty gunky. I also can’t place which foundation I used it with that resulted in a weird tough chunk in the sponge material that made it a little fiddly to use. I don’t know that these are any better than any mid-range sponges (I haven’t tried the Real Techniques one, for instance), but I did have a backup from some gift set I had in the past. From black to pink I go. I enjoy using good soft sponges like this with thicker, mousse/clay type foundations or ones that are otherwise prone to catching on dry spots or looking mask-like. It makes them look more smooth and less cakey. I don’t like it for full coverage, or for full application – it’s not an everyday thing for me. Repurchase? I like having a good sponge on hand, but when my current Branded Beauty Blender dies, I’d like to try a different (cheaper) kind. These things are grossly expensive.

The Jojoba Company Jojoba Oil – This came in the last ever Marie Claire parcel, and it just would not run out. It’s fine, because it’s a nice oil, but I have an oil I prefer to use which made getting through this feel like a real slog. I appreciated that this wasn’t too thick or too gross smelling, but in an ideal world I’d have an oil that was a little bit lighter on the skin and a little nicer in scent. My skin was fine on it – no noticeable change. Purchase? Probably not, although I would look into their other products.

Sephora Collection Honey Lip Scrub – Nice enough for moisture, not nearly enough on its own as a lip scrub. I appreciated the moisture and gentle scrubbing it gave when I used it before bed, but would have preferred something slightly – slightly – more abrasive. Repurchase? Maybe. It’s a pretty decent balm, and I prefer a gentle scrub to an overly abrasive sugar scrub.

Mac Prolongwear Concealer in NC20 – This is a good concealer – heavy duty, not too dry, long wearing. Sadly, this colour was always slightly too yellow for me, and there was never anything quite right. Also, the packaging is terrible and everyone will tell you that. Repurchase? No.

Blinc Amplified Mascara – I’m fine with tubing mascaras, but this is not nearly as easy and fun to get off as I remembered. It also doesn’t do really do much of anything. Repurchase? Not on its own. If it’s in a set, like this one was, sure.

22219120_10155908211640039_2005959917_o

Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes – Blah blah blah, I love these wipes when I’m feeling very lazy, or as a first step before properly taking off stubborn makeup. They don’t hurt my skin or my eyes and they’re the perfect amount of moist. Repurchase? Eternally – whenever Simple is on sale, I pick up a few packs.

The Body Shop Beauty Sponge – I thought I’d try out the Body Shop’s answer to a beauty blender and can conclusively say that it is…not good. I made it about a month of using it before I flat gave up, and most of that was damp use with powders. It’s far too dense – compared to most blending sponges, it’s rock hard. I’ve used the Chi Chi sponges before, and I’d be recommending those over this. It didn’t drink up product, which was good, but it also didn’t give me the airbrushed, smoothed effect I would want if I was opting for a sponge as my application method. No dice. Repurchase? No

The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Mask – I tried a couple of sachets of this (I tossed the other one) to give the new mask a go, and honestly speaking? It’s fine, but I still prefer the Ginseng and Rice mask any day of the week. That’s possibly my favourite mask in the world? I am looking for something still gentle but a little more deep cleansing for the summer, and sadly this wasn’t it – menthol freaks my skin out, and I’m not into the associated tingly feeling. I liked the exfoliation and I do like cleansing masks that are more gentle and less drying, but this just didn’t do enough to justify the unpleasantness, and it left my notoriously picky skin pretty red and frustrated. Purchase? No

it Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream – Employees have used this on me before to no particular notable impact, so I thought I’d give this sample a go myself. My current moisturiser is gorgeous for summer but occasionally I lust after something heavier – this wasn’t it. I’m very picky with skincare, and this was not a match for me. I was okay with the thickness and lack of fast absorption, because I could see it being nice for winter, but I still had a lot of problems with this cream. Mainly the ingredients list – yowza. Not the “yikes, chemicals!” rubbish, which you’ll never hear from me, but almost the opposite – this cream is so packed with unnecessary essential oils and plant extracts that as soon as I put it on I muttered to myself “lavender” and my chin began to itch. “Perfect for all skin types, even the most sensitive”, but still we’re going to throw in sandalwood and grapefruit and orange and bergamot and lavender. I really, really hate gratuitous essential oils in skincare that would have been perfectly lovely otherwise, when marketed to people with sensitive skin. I can handle lavender in very rare products, but they’re getting fewer and fewer. This cream messed me up. Purchase? No

Sephora Collection Smoothing Primer – I’ve used this primer before, and it’s a perfectly nice silicone based primer. I’m not rushing out to buy it again, but I’ll always use up samples of it. Purchase? Maybe one day, but I have other primers I prefer that are cheaper (albeit less accessible – The Ordinary’s High Adherence Silicone Primer; NYX Angel Veil Primer)

Sephora Collection Whipped Cream Body Moisturiser with Watermelon Extract – I liked the texture of this body cream, but it smelled far too strongly of watermelon lollies for me to ever purchase. Purchase? No

I suspect I’ll power through more junk the next couple of months. I’m doing another cruise in November, and travel tends to eat up product minis.

Bite Sized Five – Thoughts on Things

I’ve been sick recently and it’s been hard to compile thoughts, but here are’s a quick grab bag of products that I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts on. Sometimes I start using a product a lot and I develop stronger thoughts on it and no one cares about them so I need a venue for that. This is the venue.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Illumination – I should really update my Basics of Bases post, but a few products in that remain solid, including how I feel about the original Bye Bye Undereye concealer in that I love it when I need some hardcore coverage. I got a deluxe sample size of the newer version – the “illumination” version – and it’s…okay. It still gives me the same coverage, which is great. There’s no evidence of any darkness under my eyes when I put this on. However, the illumination factor is downright silvery in some lights, and it means that unlike the original you cannot use this or any excess on blemishes and if it isn’t blended studiously, you will be able to tell. I can only wear this concealer with a full coverage foundation, lest I end up a glittery mess – perhaps it would be a better option on someone with more darkness under their eyes that they’re trying to counteract, but I would worry about this highlighting it rather than erasing it. In short: not for me.

The Body Shop Matte Clay Foundation – From that same blog post, another product I still love and have completely surprised myself with is the Body Shop Fresh Nude foundation. It’s a relief, considering I really ought to wear it to work every day. For easy makeup that looks like skin, it’s the best. It’s still hard to fight my makeup loving instincts for full coverage makeup that looks like makeup, and while the new Matte Clay foundation is not at all an easy foundation, I am at the point in the learning curve where I’m totally into it.  This is not a foundation that forgives poor preparation or skincare – you need to prep and prime within an inch of your life. I love this with the primer I’m going to talk about in this post, actually. But I cannot skip moisturising or weekly physical exfoliation if I’m planning on wearing this, because it will find dry patches I did not know I had. It’s similar to the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation in coverage and feeling, but it’s less thick and mask-like, but also less forgiving. It does share the property of being extremely long wearing and it keeps me matte to the high heavens, which I honestly was not expecting. It looks like makeup, but sometimes I want that – with heavier eye makeup and full contour/highlight, sometimes I feel like I need a more present base. The shade range on this one, though, is dismal. When I can wear shades three through seven, it’s a bad sign.

I’m ridiculously high maintenance, and I’ve found that my perfect work foundation is a combination of this one and the Fresh Nude. More forgiving than this alone, more matte and with more coverage than just Fresh Nude.

Zoeva Matte Full Spectrum Palette – I’m so boring and I just love matte eyeshadows. I’ve just been picking a few and then slapping on some g old glitter shadow or a beige satin and I’m good to go. This is a great palette for allowing me to do looks with greens or reds or blues depending on however I’m feeling, and it doesn’t waste my time with lazy metallics that I can just rip from other palettes. The Zoeva mattes are definitely stiffer than something like a Kat Von D or Anastasia matte, but they blend nicely and are good for building – you have to start small and work up, and I appreciate that. It stops the tendency to just rush overboard with orange and purple. It’s expensive – priced fairly, but it’s huge – and at more than $70, it’s only worth it if you know you’re going to use a spectrum of matte colours.

The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer – I wrote recently about my enjoyment of The Ordinary’s other primer, the High Spreadability Fluid Primer, in a recent post. My enjoyment of that one lead me to pick up this option, which I was worried was going to be overly thick and tacky a la the Deciem Matte 12. Thankfully, this has the slight type of tackiness that is beneficial in a primer and helps to keep foundation adhering. Since it’s silicone based, it has the same smoothing action as the other primer. It feels lighter on the skin than the High Spreadability primer. That’s nice, sometimes. I wouldn’t wear this by itself, and it’s not the most effective pore filler around, but it’s become my go-to primer over the past few weeks. Frequency of use is okay, because I can actually afford to replace it (it’s around $10AUD from Myer), unlike the battle that is replacing NYX Angel Veil or the price of replacing Hourglass Mineral Veil.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes – Tarte, as a brand, are not my cup of tea. I used to swear by their Amazonian Clay Foundation when I was young and struggling with texture, but then I realised that the heavier foundations weren’t always the best solution. Whoever posted a racist meme on their instagram today and then blamed an intern? Yikes. That all said, this mini mascara came in the Christmas lash stash (I redeemed for the Make Up Forever Excessive Lash), and it’s a pretty popular one on the scene so it deserves comment. It’s nice. If you want very long, fluttery lashes that don’t clump together, this is a good mascara for that. Not too wet or too dry. On initial application, it’s one of the most false lash adjacent mascaras I’ve ever tried. However! My god, this mascara does not stay on. I don’t generally struggle with mascara running as a rule, which is why I find this notable. I seldom opt for waterproof mascaras but this mascara, after four hours, had flaked all over my under eye area and at six hours was smudge city. So all in all, that outweighs the initial prettiness for me. I’ve been using it up through layering – it’s lovely on the top lashes only, working with a far more durable and volumising mascara. I’ve enjoyed using this alongside the Buxom mascara, which I’ll probably write about soon, as it’s become one of my absolute workhorse products.

I tend to avoid writing about lip products here, but a special shout out rant about the Nars Power Matte Liquid Lipstick packaging. Beautiful, beautiful products on the lips – I have Starwoman and it’s an absolutely gorgeous red – but be it a faulty item or a fault of a lack of proper stopper and a very thin product, this thing leaks everywhere. I have red liquid lipstick all over my handbag. Caution advised.

That’s all my cut down rants and rambles for the moment, but I’m sure more are soon to come.

What’s New? Fenty Beauty Match Stix Skinsticks Review (and bonus foundation first impressions)

I wanted this to be a short review because I haven’t owned these for long enough to get too in depth, but I have a lot of things to say. Mostly, I have those things to say because everyone on the internet is in the throes of Fenty obsession. Like any good blogger, I’m always here to jump on a trend midway.

A few days ago, Rihanna’s makeup line launched worldwide. Everyone went a bit wild, and I’d say rightfully so. At launch, the foundation range had 40 shades, going far beyond the shade range of most well established foundations. There’s a heavy emphasis on wearability for darker skin tones, which is extremely rare in mainstream makeup. I know that this line is not made for me primarily, and that’s lovely. Not everything needs to be for me. So while I took a sample of the foundation – in 120,  for reference – I was surprised by the other things that caught my eye. I ended up making my own little trio of the Match Stix, a product I was expecting to walk past completely.

21733500_10155850029145039_2027374971_o

I picked up one of the matte match stix for cream contouring, Amber, and two of the shimmer options, Trippin and Confetti. They magnetise together in honeycomb patterns, which is cute but ultimately just a little gimmick for fun. Individually they retail for $37AUD or $25USD. There are also premade sets of three for different skintones which are considerably better value at $79AUD or $54USD. The reason I opted out of that was that they contained a) a matte concealer/cream highlight, which is a product type I do not use, b) the shimmer highlight colours were all pretty conventional and easy to dupe. I wanted something a little more bespoke.

Here are swatches of the three I picked up.

21733593_10155850029625039_1244073755_o
Top to bottom: Fenty Beauty Amber, Trippin, Confetti, and Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter Stick for comparison

First up, Amber. All of the matte shades I swatched had smoother, less stiff consistencies than the shimmer match stix. This was no exception, and it was by far the coolest of the fair contour shades. On the odd occasion that I do go for a contour, I like it to be very easy and very natural looking, so I like these very shadow-esque cool shades on my skintone. On warmer skin, colours like these can look a little odd – it’s all an undertone thing – but you all know my feelings on makeup for correction vs. makeup for fun and messing around. Do your thing. Still, this is basically the platonic ideal of a cream highlight for me, a person who does not cream highlight. I swipe it on where the hollows of my cheeks would be if I were less round faced, perhaps a bit around the edge of my hairline, and blend it out with a sponge. It takes a couple of seconds and it doesn’t leave any harsh lines. I’m wearing it in almost every photo you’ll see later. In a surprise to myself, this is my favourite thing I picked up.

Trippin is far more subtle than I anticipated on swatching it. It’s very much a peach with gold shimmer, consistent with most of the shades in the collection, while a couple are like Confetti and err more on the side of glitter. My skintone twin sales assistant at Sephora recommended this one to me as a natural glow with a bit of a twist, and I went against my instincts to take her advice.

21729972_10155851653055039_1288817396_o.jpg

 

You can barely even see it here, on my strangely angled face with my bare skin sans light contour and highlight, but this is the highlight swiped on once and then patted out. It’s stiff on application but disperses very easily with fingers or a sponge. I wouldn’t advocate for a brush, unless it is particularly dense. Lovely for everyday, so for me, not that often. I wish highlights were easier to photograph when they weren’t blue and purple.

 

Confetti is, thankfully, a lot easier to photograph. It is spectacular to behold. I swatched it next to the Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter stick because I was immediately reminded of it. My irritation with that one is that it’s the very editorial high gloss look that I infrequently go for. Confetti is far more reliant on glitter for its purple/blue shift rather than glossy shimmery sheen, so it’s horrible for texture but I much prefer the look overall. It’s the stiffest formula of the three match stix I have, and the hardest to disperse with the most glitter fallout. That said, it’s also the highest impact. You do have to work harder to diffuse the initial purple streak on your face and the glitter atop it, but it’s not that much more work than other formulas I’m used to that are more pigmented at their bases. It is also very easy to use this one warmed up on the palm and then patted on, but I would still be very wary of glitter getting around the place.

21733526_10155851653045039_1460987402_o.jpg

 

Better photo coming later – this is a more subtle application, but I have showed it built up in a full look below. Also, note how good Amber looks as a contour. I can see myself using this a lot on my days off. In fact, I’m using this today. Speaking of today…

 

 

Bit of a bonus look. I’m feeling surprisingly enthusiastic about these products – Trippin less so, but definitely Amber and the more I wear Confetti, the more I want to talk about it – so I based my whole look off of Confetti to the max today. I also tested out the foundation, so continue on for a first impression of that. On the off chance that you’re interested. Here’s Confetti built up, used as the inspiration for the rest of a look:

21733794_10155854666580039_454142581_o.jpg

My base is the Fenty Beauty foundation in 120 with Amber as a contour and Confetti as a highlight, topped with a bit of Mac Soft Frost for some extra intensity. I have a Moonshot Jelly Pot in Aubergine on my eyes, topped with a tiny bit of Confetti, and my lips are Kat Von D’s Ayesha topped with Black Moon Cosmetics’ incredible new matte glitter lip topper in Luna. I love how the highlight looks layered and built up, and I can’t get over Amber as a contour.

First impressions of the foundation? Someone on reddit commented in passing that it seems to have been designed for photography, and there is some kind of witchcraft going on in that respect. To my eyes, this foundation looks…average. I primed half of my face with my current favourite primer (The Ordinary’s High Adherence Silicone Primer), and neither side had any difference in application or appearance. Both look like they’ve settled into my pores very quickly and it looks very very dry, even on my distinctly normal/combination skin. And yet, in photographs – admittedly not that high quality photographs – this foundation disguises all of its flaws.

Here’s a before and after of my skin in this foundation:

BeFunky Collage.jpg

I mean, sure, it still looks pretty funky around my nose and the moustache I refuse to remove. But I assure you that in real life, this foundation looks pretty average for a foundation. The coverage is decent but not great. It doesn’t smell super strong, which it can hold over the foundation I would liken it to on the skin out of my experience in the foundation world – the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra. It’s also lighter than that, but feels similar and looks similar on the skin. In terms of making my skin look great in person, I’ve never quite topped the Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk. This is, notably, half the price. I also think that it’s no fault of the foundation: this is not a foundation for me. Or perhaps it is, but not right now. This foundation is for people with oily skin and limited textural issues. It covered my redness beautifully, but latched on to every bit of texture around and felt incredibly dry. Not every foundation needs to be for me. I’ll come back to it once more of those 30 degree days roll around and see how my thoughts evolve.

All in all, I appreciate the cohesiveness of Fenty Beauty’s branding and I don’t fault people for being unable to separate a brand face from their feelings regarding the brand in a world of fast capitalism and hyper consumerism. It’s the world we live in and we need to be conscious of it and evolve around it. I think greater diversity in shade range can only ever be a good thing, but that doesn’t mean anything is above criticism, nor is it deserving of backlash for backlash’s sake. Balance and critical consumerism at all times in an industry that profits, largely, off exploiting the insecurity of women. Let’s criticise that while we continue to enjoy the parts of it that we do, like the creative element and the opportunities – oft missed – for diversification and the copious amounts of glitter.

An Ordinary Review of The Ordinary Products

I delayed this a little bit and am going to blame the fact that I wanted to give a proper go to the Advanced Retinoid. In reality, life was being terrible. I’m working too much and university is hard when you’re a Sick GirlTM. Enough excuses! Let’s talk about the brand that everyone and their mother has already written about at length, far better than I ever will: The Ordinary.

When it first launched in Australia, I had a lot of thoughts about The Ordinary. It was at the online tipping point between hype and backlash, so the Powers That Be on who dictate what’s hot in skincare on reddit were roughly split on it. It was also not yet available at Priceline, so it was a tricky brand to get your hands on – my first two products were purchased at the Deciem store in Sydney. Deciem is one of those does-it-all-brands with about fifteen things under the umbrella, with everything from fairly well known product lines to the very weird (Hylamide has been available in Australia for a fair while and is roughly mid-range in the priceing scale; brands like inhibif sell products that are supposed to inhibit hair growth. That’s a bunch of stuff I am not touching). The Ordinary sits at the lower end price wise and sells a bunch of specific products aimed at incorporating into a routine to perform a specific function, be it as an AHA or a Hyaluronic Acid or a Vitamin C suspension. They’ve also more recently delved into colour cosmetics. Of course, you know all this. You’ve watched the good and bad videos on Youtube, you’ve read comprehensive overviews like this two-parter at Lab Muffin, which I love because she always goes into the nitty gritty skincare science.

There are lots of pros and cons to a brand like this. Because of the pricing, the products are simple but are also packed with some filler of varying quality, so your mileage may vary on efficacy. I also hate the cult like mindset that falls both for and against this range, and it’s definitely one of the brands that really cultivates that. I enjoy treating myself to skincare occasionally, and you aren’t getting luxury here, but if you want a workhorse there are some things here that feel really decent. I would like to re-emphasise: It’s very, very hit and miss. Do your research. Try things out where possible – the brand is now available at Myer and Priceline and some places have testers. They may be cheap, but cheap is only good if you’re going to use it. Of the four products here that I have tried, there are two that I adore or at least like and two that I am utterly ambivalent towards.

Let’s start with the product that has become indispensible to me – the High-Spreadability Fluid Primer is excellent. It’s incredibly slippery and very much on the liquid side of things, but for smoothing the texture of my skin without feeling thick and sticky, I’m yet to try anything similar. It absolutely won’t be for everyone. I’ve read a lot of complaints about it sliding off of people’s faces, and I might try their other primer come the warmer weather, but for the moment I have been absolutely in love with this one. Bar the packaging, that is. This dropper format for this formula is absolutely atrocious. It doesn’t drop and I just end up wiping the pipette on my hand.

I’ve never used a retinol or retinoid before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Advanced Retinoid 2%. For someone with a bit of scarring and a whole bunch of texture to my skin, I knew that retinol was the hot thing on the market, but I wasn’t going to pretend to be knowledgeable about how it functioned. If you want to actually find that stuff out, please refer to someone with more education than myself. What I can tell you is that I was pleasantly surprised by this product. I experienced no peeling with it, which is always the horror associated with retinol type products. It’s gentle enough to use regularly and I didn’t find it excessively drying or uncomfrotable. Really the only discomfort comes from the fact that it smells vaguely like rubbing white wine on your face. It fit in nicely to a routine because it was quite light, and though I didn’t ntoice results particularly quickly, I do feel like continued use did positively impact my skin.

I’m on the fence with regards to the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%. I’ve used other treatments  with lactic acid before – like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, and a few others. Good Genes worked wonderfully for me, but nothing has come close and my god, it’s unacceptably expensive. I wrote about The Ordinary’s option here, but since then I’ve got a bit lazy with it. I’ve been increasingly dissatisfied with the thickness of it, and I find that I break out if I use too much. I have to balance it out with other products carefully, and it’s more work than I want to do on my standard night. You also need to let it sit for a while, lest it become sit on the skin quite sticky. I do enjoy it as an affordable AHA, but if Good Genes didn’t cost $130 it would be the obvious choice for efficacy and feeling on the skin, despite all the bullshit marketing.

When it comes to the Niacinmide 10% + Zinc 1%, I don’t really have any feelings. Niacinamide is an ingredient commonly used for scarring and pigmentation, and for the ever elusive improvement of the appearance of pores. I don’t obsess over the size of my pores, because pores are just a part of being a human and we need them and the idea that skin should be smooth and poreless is so gross to me, but this product was the one everyone recommended for breakout prone skin so I gave it a go. It kind of just…didn’t do anything, even with extended use over the course of months. It seems like my skin doesn’t tend to get along with niacinamide in general, from my limited experience with this and Paula’s Choice and its presence in low levels in other products. I didn’t do a carefully monitored test with controlled variables on this product, but I was definitely breaking out more while I was using it. I have heard other people say that this is their single favourite product from The Ordinary, so like with all skincare, your mileage may vary.

 

I’m glad I’ve had my fix of The Ordinary. It’s definitely satisfied the curiosity that the endless internet hype and backlash cycle has seeded in me. It’s made me a lot more practical when browsing their products and certainly less likely to spontaneously order something online rather than waiting til it hits Australian shores. I’ve crossed a lot off of my to-try list – I’ve lost most of my interest in the Vitamin Cs of different kinds, for instance – but there are a few things I’m now a little more eager in my anticipation of: I’m very interested in the performance of the High Adherence Silicone Primer, not to mention their newer foundations that haven’t come to Australia yet. I might try my hand at the Retinol 1% once I’ve finished my 2%, just to see how my skin goes with it, and I’m very curious about their AHA+BHA 30 Minute peel even though I doubt my skin will tolerate it, because it will be in a price range I’m comfortable testing it out for.

Whenever a brand comes out with products surrounded by huge amounts of hype, be realistic. Consider what the brand is actually offering: single actives as opposed to products that encompass lots of different benefits, as opposed to extrapolated claims made by word of mouth, in this case. Consider what you’re paying for in both cheap and expensive cases; consider what the experience of a product is worth for you. For me, sometimes it is worth it for a product that spends a long time on my face to feel nice and smell lovely without irritating my skin, even if those additions come at a price hike. Try something new, but don’t try something unrealistic. I think that’s my new thing: realism in beauty. It’s harder than you’d think.

 

 

July 2017 Empties and Reviews – Light and Late

As I mentioned in my Battle of the Holographic Highlighter Palettes, I’ve been a little more absent than usual. I’ve been spreading the blog love to populating my pop culture review blog, Sara Watches Stuff, and I’m back at university again.

I’ve had a light month on product usage, and I’m later than normal. Any excuse to clear out the garbage that’s populating the corner of my room, right? Let’s talk about it. A lot of things I’ve spoken about before!

20629039_10155733897600039_1835452380_o

The Body Shop Vanilla Chai Shower Gel – I talked about this here and here and it’s still sweet, cinnamony deliciousness. It was back in the recent sale and I picked up three bottles, so more will come. Repurchase? Bring it back.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – Apparently the full size of this took me nearly a full year to finish up! The full size packaging is far superior to the travel size, and religious BHA usage is the only thing that helps to keep my under-the-skin forehead bumpiness at ease. Repurchase? Already have. I am not a huge fan of anything else I’ve tried from Paula’s Choice, but I’ll continue my patronage for this. If you know something better, I’m open to suggestions.

Verb Hydrating Mask – This was fine? It was a moisturising hair mask and my hair did feel really nice and soft. It seems like almost any hair mask will do that for me, though, and this didn’t surprise me as much as the Christophe Robin hair mask did from the same Sephora Favourites pack. Repurchase? Most likely not.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara – I hated this. In a Bite Sized Five review, I said it was lovely when used with a great deal of care – apparently I’m not capable of that level of care. It was awful to remove and I poked myself in the eye exponentially more than usual. Purchase? Absolutely not.

La Roche-Posay Redermic C10 – From the final Marie Claire Parcel, this was a 10% vitamin C treatment that I ended up quite enjoying. La Roche-Posay tends to mesh well with my skin, and this was a good size to test for a couple of weeks. I liked how it felt. Purchase? I don’t think it did enough to justify the cost for me, personally.

The Body Shop All in One Face Base 04 – I’ve also written about this! This is my on-the-go powder. I wear it every day for work. I’m very boring. Repurchase? Have done.

20629023_10155733897560039_483120308_o

Sephora Collection 10HR Wear Perfection Foundation – This was fine? It was fine. I was not amazed by it, but it did an alright job. It would do if I was desperate for foundation, in a more appropriate shade. It wasn’t anything spectacular? Purchase? No, but I’ll use my abundance of samples.

Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes – I’ve spoken about these fifteen thousand times. I love them for infrequent first step makeup removal without making my skin weirdly sore. I’ve never tried anything else that I liked, and I’ve tried a lot of things. Repurchase? Yes

Erno Laszlo Cleansing Bar (Sensitive Soothe & Calm) – Why did I even try this? It’s a bar soap for your face, and no matter how suitable for sensitive skin it claimed to be, it did the same thing 95% of cleansers do for me: it dried me out. It was also a pain to store hygienically. Purchase? No

The Body Shop Green Tea Cleansing Hair Scrub x2 – I absolutely loved this weird hair scrub – akin to, say, Lush’s Big shampoo – for easing up some of the big chunks of dry scalp I have and for getting out product build up, but there is a major caveat. This stuff is deep cleansing. When I say “deep”, I’m talking “strip colour from your hair” deep. It would be fine for people with normal hair, I’m sure, but I have bright green hair and all of a sudden the previous blue was everywhere. Purchase? Not in the forseeable future – I value my bright, weird hair colour too much.

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum – I wanted to try a couple of samples of this much hyped product before I bought a mini, because I am historically sensitive to AHAs. It didn’t cause a reaction, so I’ve got a mini to give a fair try to. I’m not wowed. Purchase? I bought a small size to test the hype – I’m looking for something that isn’t the Sunday Riley Good Genes – but at this stage, it’s not wowing me.

Son & Park Beauty Water – I’ll cop to not really getting this product. It’s a toner and cleansing water with exfoliating ingredients? Willow bark extract and papaya, to be specific. I used it post-cleansing, and it was fine, but I prefer my regular toning/BHA liquid routine. Purchase? No

Benefit Boi-ing Concealer in 02 – The new boi-ing concealer is nice, but the colour range is pretty dismal. I liked the consistency a lot. It’s creamy but gives decent coverage, would be lovely for undereyes if the shade was right. I would probably be an 01 for under the eyes and an 02 for blemishes, and this seems like it could work on either: sadly I didn’t love it enough to pay more than $30 for one or the other. I’d rather shell out the dollars and re-buy the Tarte Shape Tape that I have somehow misplaced. Purchase? Most likely not.

And we’re done! I’ll keep using up boring products you’ve heard me go one about before. I’m working on a review on my experiences with some products by The Ordinary, and I have a few new-ish products I’m keen to write about. Prepare for all the platitudes.