Marie Claire The Parcel Autumn Edit 2017 – Unboxing and Review

With the death of Lust Have It, The Parcel is now the last makeup box I’m subscribed to. I’m actually really content with that. There are worse things in life than not receiving mail, it turns out. With the state that my health has been in, I’ve appreciated as few things to think about as possible. I do still really enjoy what Marie Claire bring to the subscription game. They offer actual value, in terms of receiving things that feel substantial and often items from higher end brands mixed in with the usuals. You get things that are currently being marketed, not stuff from the archives. It feels like more of an experience, rather than a few bits of crap in a bag. It’s still a mixed bag! There’s always an element of that, and some quarters are far more successful than others. Let’s look at this one.

17522102_10155304342195039_2031448450_o

No photos of the leaflet this time, because the lighting was just that awful. Marie Claire is always the worst for facilitating my bad maths, so ready yourself for that.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisture Rich Night Cream (Full size is 75g for $14.99; This is 15g so about $3 worth) – I enjoy Palmer’s products, even if they’re not necessarily exciting. This apparently has the added benefits of peptides, which are one of those skincare ingredients I understand to be a nebulous good thing for protecting the skin, and cocoa butter is generally a good thing, but I’m a little dubious as to how this formula will end up feeling on my face. It’s packed with a bunch of really nourishing ingredients, but also really heavy ones: cocoa butter, but also coconut oil and shea butter. My skin does get dry in winter but remains acne prone, so I do worry that in spite of how lovely this felt when I tested it to check for a reaction, it could break me out. I will definitely give it a go. I love the smell, and I’ve liked Palmer’s body products, but if this ends up not working for me I know it will find a happy home with my younger sister.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet (Full size is 30mL and the booklet says $140 while the Myer website says $95; this is 5mL and worth about $23 if you go off Marie Claire’s price) – Ah, ceramides. This box is strange in that it’s appearing to target about five different groups of people. I’m not on the ceramide train yet – I really don’t need to overload my skin with any more than I already am! – but it’s one of those things that’s really great on aging skin. Personally, I just find this serum is one of those really fancy serums that feels like nothing and smells like flowers, but I’m sure some people like that kind of thing. I’ll still try it out, I guess.

Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner (30mL retails for $36.99; this is 15mL so about $18.5? That seems a lot but I’ll take it I guess) – So we’ve had ultra nourishing, anti-aging, and now super mattifying. See what I mean? Targeting lots of different age groups and skin types with this box. I was genuinely surprised by the powder finish of this in my little test of it. It does feel like it would lend itself towards longwear, but I feel like it would cling to anything going wrong on your skin. I’m curious as to how this goes in the long haul – it might have potential. We’ll see.

Jergens Hydrating Coconut Lotion (This is a full size at 250mL and retails for $6.99) – A pretty standard body lotion, but it smells nice and it’s lightweight and for once, it’s not tanning. It does smell like a tanning lotion, which is really nostalgic. I have more body lotions than one person could conceivably use.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent (Full size is 50mL for $95; this is a 1.5mL sample and I’m not giving it a value okay, perfume samples of this size do not get a value) – If you’re going to send us tiny little perfume vials, at least you aren’t sending us ones with terrible stopper tops. This is a spray, and it will only last a few uses. It smells pretty typically perfumey, but definitely a summer scent: I can pick up the mandarin and bergamot, but I get coconut where none is mentioned. They also mention amber, orange and lemon, and I get the general citrus vibes, but I also get coconut so strongly that I cannot believe it is not a selling point here. Should I be blaming the lotion from before?

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra (200mL retails for $25.95; this is 50mL so about $6.50) – I’ve spoken before about my absolute exhaustion with receiving micellar waters. I have my favourite, I’m loyal, and every time I get another one in the mail it’s just another obstacle between me being able to use the one I actually like (Bioderma, for the record. My eyes a delicate babies). This does seem promising, though, and it’s a good size for travel. It doesn’t leave my skin sticky and it isn’t heavily scented. If I liked it and it was cheaper than Bioderma, sure. But I’ve said that to everything and so far, no dice.

Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Niagara Overlook (RRP $16.95) – Real talk: I have one of these in Napa Vineyard, the darkest shade, and it’s a lovely dark red. The only problem I have with these is that they’re cheaply packaged and a pain to travel with – the lid falls off constantly. This colour is not my usual thing, a pretty warm pink, but it’s lovely on the lips. I’m not sure when I’d wear it, but lots of people would love this colour. Here’s a picture!

17793130_10155304341940039_1693344294_n

Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub (This is a full size and 125mg for $10.99) – The name of this product set off alarm bells because baking soda, on its own, is highly basic (we’re talking like 8.5-9pH) and while in the short term might be okay, can seriously damage your skin’s acid mantle with any kind of prolonged use. This does claim to be pH balanced, and reviews seem to back that up. I’ll have to test this way more thoroughly on other areas before I’m comfortable using it on my face, and I’ve so far had very underwhelming results with other add-water-to-activate powder cleanser type products (Dermalogica Microfoliant, the Tatcha one). Still, a nice full size inclusion.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Shampoo and Conditioner (Full sizes are 250mL for $17.99 – each of these is 45mL and worth about $3.24 each, by my bad maths – just make them 50mL, damn it) – My hair is not nearly blonde but I do like products that aim to preserve colour, because my hair is…blue. So it’s definitely not a natural thing and I do like to keep the blue around. Don’t want anyone knowing it doesn’t just grow this way, you know? I am considering going lighter later in the year, so this might come in handy for travel at that point.

This was an okay box! I’ve had better, I’ve had worse. I’m excited to use that Bioderma Pore Refiner under a primer and see how it impacts my makeup’s wear time or oil breakthrough, but perhaps in warmer weather, and the Burt’s Bees crayon is a beautiful formula in a pretty colour. Who knows? I might discover some other good stuff in here. I’m still content with this subscription for $25AUD per quarter (this month works out at about $92 value, but the actual usable value is less, as something that I end up not being able to use will have no value to me), and there’s less fatigue with it.

March Empties and Reviews

Now with 60% less junk! Don’t hoard your trash, kids.

17758117_10155297707925039_312533542_n

A disproportionate amount of shower gels! A soothingly soft green colour palette?

The Body Shop Olive Shower Gel – RIP Olive. Probably the best scent in the main lineup, and it’s just been discontinued (in Australia, anyway). It’s all on sale at the moment for $5, so I picked up a spare bottle. I’ve been through a few in my time – it’s fresh but not too aggressively crisp. There’s a slight soft floral tinge to it, but none too strong.

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Shower Gel – My last bottle, discovered from the depths of my collection, finished. My favourite scent TBS have ever done. I don’t feel strongly enough for shower gel to buy it from ebay, but I do still have a little bit of the scrub, and I have the splash (still available in stores on sale) decanted into a spray bottle so that if I’m craving the scent, it’s not far off.

Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Shower Foam – This came in my November 2016 Lust Have It bag and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The scent was…eh, sweet and lightly floral. What was great was the texture – the foam worked really well for shaving without having to use a thicker oil or something. A little drying if I used it too often, but in the short term it was great. It doesn’t ship to Australia (but it does to the US and most of Europe)  though, so it’s for nothing.

The Body Shop Aloe Calming Cream Cleanser – I found my last bottle in the old packaging! The change was only last year, but I just use this cleanser with a loyalty I reserve for very few products. My thoughts have not changed from this empties post or this one or really any post I’ve made in the last few years on either of my blogs. It’s gentle and non stripping and it won’t give you a squeaky clean feeling, but thankfully I hate that feeling.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – This was supposed to be a really gentle cleanser, based on what I’d read. Naturally, I found it a bit drying. I also started to get little whiteheads after using it for a few days, and after an adventure reacting to a sunscreen, it was rough. I liked the smell, though, and it was less stripping than other similar cleansers. There are no physical retailers in Australia that I know of, and the online retailers aren’t ones that I have experience with.

Smashbox Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer – I see no point to this product. I appreciate that sometimes you want to make a cream lipstick into a matte one (I prefer a matte finish, and I hate dealing with transfer), but this product does nothing that blotting or using a translucent powder can’t achieve. For me, at least. I’m sure – like with most products – there are people who love this and find it to really help them get the most out of their lipsticks. As for me? The idea of paying $35 for this is laughable. I’d rather use that money to buy a whole new lipstick in a matte finish, because I myself am laughable.

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray – At Christmas I bought a little set of minis and this was one of them. It’s nice and lavender laden and I prefer it to the “plus” version. I still can’t decide whether or not I’d pay for it, because the aromatherapy thing has never really done it for me, but it’s still a nice addition to my nights.

DKNY Be Delicious/Golden Delicious Rollerball – This is a relic from when I was about fourteen. Be Delicious – along with Vera Wang’s Princess – was the first perfume I ever fell in love with. I still like it now! It’s apples and pears and not very sophisticated, but it’s lovely. Golden Delicious is nice, but it’s a little generic for me (more prominent blossoms and a bit of white floral to it) – there’s still some left but it’s gone sour.

The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Night Cream – When I don’t want to use an oil, or when I want something over the top, this is the cream I use above. It’s nothing dramatic or active and it doesn’t claim to do anything special, but it delivers hydration without being irritating and usually that’s all I want. In summer, I thrive off this stuff.

NARS Smooth and Protect Primer – For a $52 primer, I was expecting more. I don’t know. I didn’t mind the Pore & Shine Control primer, but this one never truly settled and made my foundation go on strangely. It felt extraordinarily thick and tacky and I can imagine I would go through it really quickly as well. Glad I tried it, and a few attempts gave me a better grip of how to work with it – you really need to let it sit on this skin before you apply foundation – but it’s way too much work to pay that money for it. Again, for me. I’d rather just pay exorbitant amounts to order the NYX Angel Veil primer off the internet.

This is so much easier to manage for a month. Also a lot easier to manage when I’ve been sick and my mental health is teetering on the edge – not great for me, but I tear through products with far less determination and aggression!

Bite Sized Five: Basics and Bases

Links are just for relevance and ease of access, particularly for things that can be harder to find in Australia. No one is giving me money for this, as much as I openly encourage being given money in any context.

I’ve had all of these products for quite a while. The fact is that I find first impressions reviews to be just as valid and a lot more useful when they’re a little more substantial and come as the culmination of several uses. Especially with skincare, which is one of my favourite things to write about, it’s very difficult to tell how you feel about things after one use. Instead, here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve been using a lot. Some of it is newly released in Australia (like the Zoeva Strobe Gel) or fairly new pickups for me (the It Cosmetics powder), others I just finally feel like talking about. Let’s dive in.

NYX Angel Veil Primer (30mL; $16USD in stores – I got mine from Ulta in Oregon during Black Friday sales or from the NYX website; in Australia, this is next to impossible to get a hold of. It’s $26 plus shipping from ASOS but currently sold out, or if you have $65 yearly unlimited international shipping from the Selfridges website, it’s $18.50) – I picked this primer up on a whim while wandering through Ulta, mostly because I vaguely remembered Kathleen Lights likening it to the Hourglass Mineral Veil primer, which I ran out of while I was abroad. I wouldn’t say that they are “dupes” – I think that makeup “dupe culture” has gone a little wild – because Angel Veil is definitely a tangibly thicker and has a far more prominent pore filling effect. I’d say I actually prefer this one, honestly. If it weren’t that it’s a nightmare to get a hold of in Australia, I’d be far more likely to come back to this one. Hopefully by the time I run out of it, the Australian NYX offerings have expanded to include this over their current lackluster primers. I find my foundations wear better and look nicer and I just really do quite like it.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% (30mL; Deciem themselves sell it for $12.70AUD from their website and in their standalone stores and it’s the same now it sells in Myer, but you can find it cheaper at other online retailers but then there’s shipping) – There was a period of time where everyone on the internet who was into skincare would not shut up about The Ordinary. All the big names were fascinated by it, not to mention the hype it garnered on places like reddit and youtube and all of the other skincare communities. I completely get it: most people who enjoy skincare will reach a point where they lose enthusiasm for the marketing and jargon of the skincare industry, and just want stripped back, simple things that work. Deciem really tapped into that niche with The Ordinary, offering actives at affordable prices – skincare enthusiasts can easily go “hey, I want a stable topical Vitamin C/a simple retinol/a non-glycolic AHA/niacinamide for hyperpigmentation” and get exactly that. It’s got a clean aesthetic and very little focus on branding and marketing, which in itself is a very effective strategy for word of mouth in a community so driven by recommendation. Everyone I know who has tried The Ordinary, prior to its availability in Myer, has done so on blogger/friend recommendation. I do know that now the hype is calming down, people are becoming a little more disillusioned with the bases that they use, and I think it comes down to the products being very much hit and miss for different people. I would definitely advocate doing your research with these and finding out what has worked for people with similar product profiles to you. Knowing that I personally can’t use glycolic acid in any kind of leave on capacity without it causing irritation to my skin, I was seeking out some kind of alternative to the overly expensive and paying-for-the-hype Sunday Riley Good Genes. This is more active and far more transparent in terms of what it actually contains, and you can definitely buffer it through combination with a cream, but my skin is now pretty seasoned to lactic acid so I risked it with the 10% after patch testing and I think the combination with the Hyaluronic Acid makes it nearly perfect for what I need. It does smell very strong, but not in a way I consider unpleasant. I think the combination of this and the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid 2% BHA is what has my skin at peak smoothness right now.

Physician’s Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer Light (This is $29.95 at Priceline but almost never in stock in store; it is around $18.30 on iherb even with shipping, and they often have sales, but I’ve never bought from them) – Physician’s Formula has the most ostentatious packaging out there and every time I pick this bronzer up I  shudder a little. However, it is beautiful. It actually reminds me a lot of the Body Shop Honey Bronzer in 03, once the top layer is worn off – it’s really soft and blends beautifully, hard to go to over the top with. There’s a reason this is perpetually sold out and raved about online. BUT: oh god, there are so many things that I wish. I wish this didn’t smell so strongly of fake coconut. It’s strong. I can still smell it on the brush, not just in the compact. The weird sponge thing they provide is also absolutely useless, and I’m not even sure what you’re supposed to do with it. It is too thin to place product at the educe and too stiff to blend contour as you would if you were using a blending sponge for contour. If they nixed that and streamlined the packaging, eased up on the scent, this would be inseparable from higher end bronzers. It’s got a lovely tone to it, which is where the real praise comes from – it’s got warmth that allows it to be a nice all over bronze but because of the satin, lit-from-within finish and a lack of excessive orange, it can still be used for soft contouring in warmer toned looks or on more neutral people. Even though shadows run grey, if you use too taupe of a shade on someone with neutral-yellow colouring, you can end up with some interesting end results. The problem with that, then, is that this bronzer only comes in two shades, one of which is widely available in Australia (excluding iherb). I’m not 100% sold on this, as you can tell. I do really enjoy it. It’s great for easy makeup days, and when I’m not doing full on drama sometimes all I need is that bit of warmth on the temples and around the edges of my face. Sadly there are just too many hurdles for me to be fully into it, and I do wish I could build it up a little more if I wanted to.

Zoeva Strobe Gel in Aureole ($24 at Sephora Australia with free shipping over $55 online; Selfridges has it for $15.50AUD with that same year round $65 shipping option that I’ll never spring for; really anywhere you can get Zoeva so I got mine in store at Sephora) – I’ve many times admitting to often having the approach to makeup of a collector, which is admittedly not the healthiest attitude. I’m absolutely the product of the capitalist machine. I did not buy this gel/mousse texture highlighter because the name reminded me of areola, because that would be absurd. I did, however, get reeled in by the texture of this. I have long had difficulty working with liquid highlighters – I absolutely loathed the much raved about Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, and passed my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecting Liquid on to a friend – but I love the intensity of shimmer, and after relative success with the Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter (which is cream to powder), I thought I might have better luck. Plus there’s the novelty – if you look to the clips of this on instagram, you’ll see this returning to its form after being tampered with by a brush or a finger. It is a ridiculous reason to buy a product and I would absolutely not advocate it, but considering I liked the colour and I wanted to try the product, I will note that it is intensely satisfying. It’s got a lovely peachiness to it but it does read on the warm side on the skin, so if you’re stocked on gold highlights, you absolutely do not need this. It’s a lot easier to work with than the aforementioned Cover FX liquid highlighters, because it sheers out more easier, and I do love it with a bronzed base and golden lips and minimal eyes – it’s quite instinctively editorial, but I appreciate the capacity to turn it down. I have not reached for it that often, though, because the medium becomes a little difficult to work with, and if I’m not going for a bronze toned look, the colour can be a little dark to use as a plain old highlighter on my skin. I suspect it will also be worse value in the long run, because it’s the kind of product far more prone to drying out than an easily sealed bottle of liquid or (obviously) a powder.

IT Cosmetics. Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Micro-Powder ($39 from Sephora Australia but like all other things at Sephora, usually sold out) – I just needed a new pressed powder. That’s it. I fully intended on buying the pressed version of this to set my makeup with and then Sephora had no stock and I could not deal with another broken Rimmel Stay Matte lid and the Australis Fresh and Flawless powder didn’t have my shade and…here we are. I like this powder enough – it does the job at actually setting makeup – and I especially appreciate how finely milled it is, with its really nice smoothing effect on my pores on initial application and for a little while. I do find, however, that this powder does not do particularly well in terms of wearing well. Compared to my standard Body Shop Face Base, or even the Australis Fresh and Flawless, I found I got oily noticeably faster on days I was wearing this powder. I also, generally, dislike loose powders because I am a messy and uncoordinated person (I cannot blame it all on the early onset arthritis). I prefered the By Terry powder to this one – my deluxe sample is nearly done, so it’ll be in an empties post soon – because I could at least see a noticeable difference to my skin with that one, even though it left a bit of discernible shimmer and costs an ungodly amount of money that I will never invest. This one? It’s okay, but for $39 for some silica powder, I want it to at least keep me looking nice for a longer than my day to day stuff.

More to come! I didn’t stop there with The Ordinary, and I’m formulating some thoughts on some new Australis products.

 

Recent Lipstick Wrap Up – Swatches, Reviews and a Whole Lotta Lip Stuff

I was waiting to post this until some gorgeous friends returned from the US with a lipstick delivery for me – Mac’s Colour Rocker collection was going to fall into my hands, and we all knew it was inevitable. While I talk about those new arrivals, I figured it was also a great time to discuss some other brand new (and less brand new stuff): new additions to the excellent Sephora Cream Lip Stain collection, the Smashbox Always On liquid lipsticks and Winky Lux lipsticks that just launched at Mecca, Rimmel’s matte iterations of their Only One lipsticks and the Sugarpill liquid lipsticks that I’ve had since returning from the US and have so much to say about but have yet to form thoughts into some semblance of coherency.

Here are the swatches! There’s a certain colour palette evident in them that gives you a nice idea of what I’ve been gravitating towards recently.

17200647_10155217968930039_1634391980_o
L-R: MAC Yash, MAC Show and Teal, MAC Deep with Envy, Rimmel 750 Look Who’s Talking, Rimmel 500 Take the Stage, Winky Lux Mermaid — Sugarpill Trinket, Sugarpill Pumpkin Spice, Sephora 17 Dark Red, Sephora 29 Dark Forest, Smashbox Out Loud

Bullets, then liquids. With my hair newly dyed, a lot more green in it, I’ve been gravitating towards dark teal and emerald shades. I’ve also been going for no makeup more often on my days off, when I’ll tend to just do a red lip or a neutral tone. I was also on a quest for the perfect burnt orange, which I think I’ve found.

Bullet Lipsticks

bullets.jpg

Mac Yash (Permanent, top left) – Despite owning a frankly preposterous amount of lipsticks, it might shock you to know that I do not think that there are really…any real nudes in the bunch. There are a lot of brown-neutrals, which tend to be what I reach for in place of nudes, but they tend to be too strong and have too prominent tones on the odd occasion I want to play with a dark eye. I love the Mac matte formula, and looking at lots of swatches on lots of skintones, I decided that Yash was what I was looking for. It’s glorious, and just a notch past corpsey. I definitely won’t wear this on my palest and sickliest of days – the days where Crohn’s has ripped all of my life force out of me – but it’s something I feel like was actually missing from my extensive and ridiculous collection.

Mac Show and Teal (Limited edition, top right) – As far as teals go, I probably own more than one person should. There’s something lovely about this one – it teeters between a true teal and a sky blue. I didn’t have problems with opacity or adherence to my lips, but I did find it quite slippery for a Mac matte. This will be fairly high maintenance, because of that slip combined with the unforgiving colour. It’s the things we do for weirdness.

Mac Deep with Envy (Limited edition, middle left) – This colour makes me froth with glee. Just thinking about it excites me. It is definitely drier than Show and Teal or Yash, shows through a little more of the lip, takes a bit more layering…the payoff is that it lasts really nicely for such a wacky colour. With good lip prep, ensuring that my lips aren’t stained, it’s perfect. Just that colour, straddling the line between teal and forest green, almost with some blackness to it.

Rimmel The Only One Matte lipstick in 750 Look Who’s Talking (Permanent, middle right) – Speaking of the brown toned neutrals I tend to reach for instead of nudes, here’s one! I used my priceline voucher this quarter to try out this new branch of Rimmel lipsticks, but I wasn’t worried: the Kate Moss matte lipsticks are some of the best matte lipsticks at affordable pricing. These still have that typical Rimmel lipstick smell, but the formula is excellent – smooth and opaque, great lasting power, intensely comfortable. Not as matte as a Mac matte, but definitely something. I actually like these flat angled bullet shapes. Provided you’ve got fairly full lips, they allow for quite easy application.

Rimmel The Only One Matte lipstick in 500 Take the Stage (Permanent, bottom left) – I didn’t at all need another red lipstick. Particularly one like this, that is quite pink toned and shares a lot of DNA with lipsticks like Ruby Woo and all of its leagues of imitators. I absolutely have no need for this, but it is a completely practical lipstick for the everyday consumer, and I would definitely recommend this or one of the Maybelline Mattes as a nice staple that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Winky Lux Matte Lip Velour in Mermaid (Permanent, bottom right) – Let’s all stop and take a moment to acknowledge that this is absolutely not a matte lipstick. Lies and slander, Winky Lux. It is, however, a gorgeous colour. It’s Show and Teal and Deep with Envy had a baby in a cream finish. I’ll forever find justifications for different shades of teal. It’s dark but not gothic, and it’s kind of a nice change to have some dimension.

Matte Liquid Lipsticks

liquids.jpg

Sugarpill Liquid Lip Color in Trinket (Permanent, top left just after initial application; top right after slight rubbing with finger to show gold glitter) – You’d think “Trinket is way too neutral for Sara” but you’d be wrong. I fell in love with this lipstick the moment I saw it on a gorgeous waitress in a seedy sports bar in Honolulu. We talked about it for fifteen solid minutes, she let me swatch it, and it was love. It’s mostly the way it transforms as it wears that bewitches me. It starts neutral-with-a-twist and gradually gets more and more golden, which is why I put two swatches there. It wears beautifully, but I do wish the colour to the base was a little stronger so that the colour didn’t lose itself to the micro glitter over time.

Sugarpill Liquid Lip Color in Pumpkin Spice (Limited edition, middle left) – I caved to all of the beautiful photos of this lipstick, despite knowing that gold is not really my colour. Sadly, this colour did what I dreaded it would do, and went on a bit sheerer than it looked like it would. It’s a lot more liquid than Trinket, and somehow the orange tones don’t transfer as much so it’s more neutral gold than pumpkin. Talking pumpkin, the pumpkin spice scent is heavy – if you’re sensitive on the lips, the cinnamon in this is definitely irritating on delicate sorts. With the metallic finish, it also wears away a lot faster than Trinket.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 17 Dark Red (Permanent, middle right) – It looks like the collection expansion that came to Australia is different to the shade expansion that the US got. It’s a bummer in that the more fun shades, other than the black, haven’t reached Australian shores, but on the bright side – different shades to explore that don’t seem to be around in the states. This dark red shade is not that dark, but it’s darker than 01 Always Red (the best red liquid lipstick about), which makes it perfect for me. Like the rest of the lipsticks in this formula, sans the few weird ones in the original collection, it’s opaque and comfortable and wears spectacularly and smells like cake. It’s become a new everyday colour for me.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 29 Dark Forest (Permanent, bottom left) – Very much the liquid lipstick version of Deep with Envy, so my platonic ideal of a lipstick. Great formula, obviously takes a tiny bit more work because the colour is so bold, and wears away a little more quickly.

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Out Loud (Permanent, bottom right) – I had heard such great things about this formula but the brown shade, True Grit, underwhelmed me and got a little flaky. With my recent gravitation towards anything burnt orange, I was excited that these finally hit Australian shelves and I got to put a Mecca voucher I had towards trying out what I’ve seen to be the standout shade from the range. Thankfully, this is incredibly comfortable – it feels like one of the Sephora brand ones on the lips. I’m not hugely into the giant triangle applicator, which makes it harder to get a clean application quickly. This wears wonderfully. It’s a great liquid lipstick.

Look, I know I have too much lipstick. You don’t have to tell me that.

 

January/February Empties: Junkpocalypse 2017, Rubbish Reviews

I’m never going away over the end of a month again.

Actually, this wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. All things considered.

17093028_10155196474845039_1494946494_o

Bath and Body Works Love & Sunshine Shower Gel – I like the B&BW shower gel formula, and this scent is a really nice fruity one with a touch of sunny floral. My one complaint with this is that once you’ve lathered it and it’s been on the skin for a little bit, the smell changes a little? It gets a bit funky and sickly. It isn’t consistent with all of the shower gels – the two others I’ve used recently haven’t had that- but I have had it with their shower gels in the past. Repurchase? Not in this scent, as nice as it was from the bottle.

Foreo Luna Play – 100 uses goes quickly! I wrote about my thoughts at length over here. In short: I enjoyed it, , but it’s absolutely overpriced. I am now using a Model’s Prefer knockoff device from Priceline that I got in the 40% off skincare sale for a bit over $20, and while it isn’t as nicely shaped, it recharges and it does the same job. Repurchase? No

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pure Clay Mask – This was actually one of my favourite clay masks I’ve used recently. It did such a nice job where I was post-travel congested around my nose and because I didn’t need to use much, it lasted quite a while (I got it in my November Bellabox). I’ve got plenty of clay masks to use up, but I would consider buying this. Purchase? I could see it happening!

I can’t remember what this was called but look! I finished a hand sanitiser and didn’t lose it! That’s never happened before. This one also smelled really good. I’ll miss nice Fortune Cookie Soap Company hand sanitisers.

Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask – This was a pretty nice hair mask, but it wasn’t anything exceptional? I can’t pick up any major discernible results. Sorry, Briogeo. Purchase? No

Foreo Day Cleanser – This was fine, and it worked nicely with the actual Foreo. It didn’t foam too much, but it still dried me out more than I’ve come to like from a cleanser. It wasn’t  bad, though, as a cleanser for when I needed to have something on hand. Purchase? Oh, absolutely not. What a pain.

Sunday Riley Good Genes – I also wrote about this in that same Bite Sized Five! I really liked it, but I don’t $154 like it. It’s nice and it makes my skin look lovely. I’m currently using The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%, and honestly, that’s giving me my fix. Repurchase? Maybe one day if I’m a millionaire, but otherwise no, and I kind of resent them charging that much.

Nars Pore and Shine Primer – Definitely my favourite of the new primers Nars launched, but by no means anything worth uprooting my routine and switching to. Honestly, I’ve been loving my NYX Angel Veil primer over everything else. Purchase? No – it’s like $50 and it’s not amazing.

CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight – I got a sample of this because while they look like absolute magic when swatched, I suspected I’d have next to no use for them and I didn’t want to get sucked in. I was right. It’s a glitter bomb, and yet it somehow sheers out to next to nothing? Repurchase? To play with this kind of thing, I’d want it to be unique or affordable – I’d either wait for the beautiful shifty blue/purple shade, or just go for the cheap Australis alternative.

Monomola Eyebrow Tattoo – This came in a Bellabox and dried out almost immediately. Womp Womp. Purchase? No

Benefit Rollerlash Mascara – I actually really liked this mascara mini! I used this when I was travelling, and I took it on the cruise with me. It did really nicely for separation and curl and some really pretty feathering. Not too natural, not too false. It also didn’t go bad super quickly, which was nice for a mascara. I’ve got enough mascaras to last me for the rest of the year (Do I like the Buxom mascara? I don’t know yet! Am I into Tarte’s Light Camera Lashes? Only time will tell!) but I did really like this. That’s actually why I was so utterly irritated by Benefit’s  They’re Real. EUGH. Purchase? Maybe one day? Not any time soon.

Tarte Gifted Mascara – I’d had this open for a little while, but not that long, so when I went and opened it and it less than three months later and it smelled awful, it was a little disconcerting. It wasn’t a great mascara anyway – it flaked quite intensely. Purchase? No

Estee Edit Pore Vanishing Stick – Slippery, but really effective for getting a good foundation application around the nose. I didn’t use it all over my face, because I was kind of grossed out by the concept of smearing the stick around, and also because I don’t need pore filling on my temples. Purchase? Way too expensive for something that is essentially a fancy silicone primer.

Maybelline Full’n’Soft Waterproof Mascara – I used to adore this mascara, and it’s still absolutely serviceable, but it’s no longer the best of the bunch. I’ve definitely used better. I do love how long it goes without getting super gross and foul, though. Repurchase? If I need a cheap mascara in a bind, this is my go-to. I’m blessed with pretty great lashes, thankfully, so I don’t really need anything that fancy.

Rimmel Super Curler 24hr Mascara – Amazing for volume but borderline clumpy, especially as it started to dry out. A good cheap mascara in a pinch, though, perhaps even more so than Full’n’Soft if I was looking for volume over definition. Repurchase? Maybe one day? I have so many mascaras, it’s ridiculous.

Cetaphil Suntivity Sunscreen 50+SPF – I had a bad reaction to this and walked around with a big old rash on my face for a few days on the cruise. I also got sunburnt, because apparently the reaction negated the SPF. Purchase? No, and please get out of my life.

IndeedLabs Nanoblur – Yeah, no. This was a confusing, slippery, weird product that didn’t do it for me. Purchase? No

17090984_10155196474970039_1456634931_o

Kleenex Anti-Bacterial Wipes – These are anti-bacterial! They wipe! Good stuff. Repurchase? Yes.

Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes – I was trying to go without these to finish up my Mac wipes, but I hate those so much. These don’t irritate my skin, blah blah, good stuff. Repurchase? Have done.

Daiso Cotton Puffs – These are fine? I prefer the Target Cosmetic Pads,even though you get more with these because you get two boxes for like $3. I felt like they broke apart really easily. Repurchase? No

Target Cosmetic Pads – My favourite cotton rounds. I keep trying others and then remembering why I use these. Repurchase? Every time.

Brite Pastel Green Dye – I used this to attempt to brighten up the ends of my hair before I completely bleached and re-dyed my hair, and it was surprisingly effective. It took even on parts of my hair that weren’t already blue? Not extremely, but decently. Not as effective as the best thing, which is the full re-bleach. I got my hair bleached and re-dyed back at the beginning of February, and I feel like myself again. Repurchase? If I was home dying, sure.

EyePro Eye Makeup Shields – I rolled my eyes a bit when this came in my January Bellabox, but it was nice to not deal with fallout on a heavy eye makeup day. It was a weirdly rounded shape, though. Purchase? No

Neat 3B Action Cream – Such a boring workhorse product and nothing to do with beauty, but holy shit, I cannot live without a tube of this stuff. I keep one in my bedroom, one in my bathroom, and one in my travel bag. It’s the only thing that helps the chafing  I get on my inner thighs (aka the dreaded “Chub rub”) which has been deadly in this long hot summer. You can also use it for boobs (another chafe zone for me) and anywhere else that tends to rub, but it’s excellent as a preventative and then as a soothing agent. Repurchase? I will literally never stop using this.

17101427_10155196474885039_92288616_o

And now all the Body Shop stuff! Yikes.

Camomile Cleansing Butter – This is a bit of a cult product and for good reason. It’s non irritating and gentle on the eyes and excellent as a first cleanse to remove makeup.My skin is mostly reactive when it comes to cleansing, so I’m really grateful for this stuff. I haven’t used this to clean sponges, but apparently it’s great for that too. Repurchase? I tend to alternate between this and the liquid form, based on what’s in stock and what my skin is doing. At the moment I’m using the liquid, which is admittedly a little easier, but I find it’s slightly less effective. Very little, but there is something. It is also a touch lighter in liquid form, but I find I go through it quicker (which is not saying much – I take about 9 months to finish a tub?). I’ll keep using it in some form.

Vanilla Chai Shower Gel – Why did I only buy one of these shower gels? I used up a mini in my November/December empties, and now this, my lone full size. It was so beautifully scented and I wanted to use it so liberally but I tried to be a little bit restrained. It was also really nice and hydrating, not too sweet, a little spicy, just lovely. Repurchase? Bring Back Vanilla Chai All Year Round.

Pinita Colada Shower Gel – My two favourite shower gels! I’m so glad this stuck around for a few extra months and I managed to get some extra backups. It’s just the perfect summery shower gel. Not too sweet or too coconutty. Repurchase? Thankfully I have two left.

All in One Face Base 04 – This is a really nice powder. It’s not too matte, which is ideal, but it still stops excessive shininess. I do wish it was slightly better at bringing shine down for touch ups, but it’s still pretty good. It’s not flat at all, which is great. Repurchase? Yes.

Tea Tree Face Mask – I’ve had this for so long, but the tea tree stuff is way too intense for me now. I’m so devoted to the Ginseng and Rice mask that forcing myself to use this up was a pain in the ass anyway. It’s almost too effective at bringing pimples out – I find I tended to wake up with whiteheads all over the place. Repurchase? No

Vanilla Chai Body Butter – Second verse, same as first. As if I need more body butter, though. Repurchase? No

Colour Crush Lipstick in 125 Crazy Sexy Crimson – I finished a lipstick! Who’d have thought? I’m not usually one for cream formulas, but this is a lovely colour and I reach for it all the time. It also suits so many different complexions? I love it so much. I’ve bought a replacement. Repurchase? Have done.

Peppermint Foot Scrub – This is fine and works nicely on my gross retail-worn feet, but I’m really lazy. If I could be bothered to use this consistently it would be much more effective. Repurchase? If I can get it, I’ll take it, but it’s not something I’ll seek out.

Drops of Youth Liquid Peel – I’ve never seen the appeal (heh) of these peeling gels, but now I’ve established that most manual exfoliation is too much for me, I kind of get it. It has a really strong smell that I’m not into, and I don’t like the false idea that these scrubs are peeling off just dead skin (Here’s a great post over at Lab Muffin on that). Still, it’s quite an effective one. I’ve since been feeling the other ones launched, and I prefer the texture of the Drops of Light one, which is much more liquidy and feels lighter. I wish this, the Drops of Light and the Vitamin C ones weren’t all so similar. Purchase? No

Next time? Probably just one month.

Next up in posts, I’ve got a lot of new lipsticks to write about (Smashbox Always On! Winky Lux! I should write about those Sugarpill ones!) and probably a semi-spur of the moment post about the intersections of gender, sexuality and makeup that tends to come around Mardi Gras. I’ve done those before, but they evolve, and it never ceases to be an important topic that I get very easily passionate about. Plus, surely you’ll want to see whatever glittery abomination of makeup I end up in.

 

 

Lust Have It February 2017 – Unboxing and Review

Any progress is progress. Compared to the subscription-ending, final-straw Bellabox I just got, I think my reviewing matrix is skewed.

16990427_10155183879525039_676609139_o

Before I go into the products, can I comment on the bag? It’s barely relevant, but it’s so cute. Take the “lust have it!” off it, and it’s the platonic ideal of a makeup bag.

16990410_10155183879465039_1542506218_o

Lots of options in here! I got the lesser option of most of them, but that’s okay.

Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel (RRP $9.95 but this is an older formula and I found it for $3.95 and it seems to sell for around $5 most places; this is the shade 030 Calla Lily) – Honestly, this is a lovely formula. I’m a big fan of the current iteration – the Colorstay Gel Envy – but this is quite nice, considering it’s discontinued. I thought this was the Gel Envy, so this discovery has kind of harshed my vibe. What a shame I got a semi-sheer opal shade called Calla Lily, rather than an opaque shade I might actually wear. Someone will use this, though. It’s surprisingly pretty at two coats, but it picks up blue from my hair really easily.

ETC Lipstick (RRP $2; I think they’re phasing this brand out overseas? The shade I got is called”True mango”) – I’m over getting this brand. The eyeliner last time was alright, and at least shows up on the Gosh Copenhagen website, but this lipstick seems to be untraceable online and it’s one of those typical cheap greasy lipsticks, in a weird coral neon orange lipsticks.

Anatomicals Lilac Body Lotion (100mL; 200mL full size retails for $8 apparently) – I like this brand and it’s a good size for a body lotion. Those a good comments! I’m not so into the smell of lilacs, but it’s not horribly offensive.

Hola Sheet Masks – DuWhite Masque and Honey Anti Wrinkle Masque (RRP $25.95 for five packs of each, these are just one of each) – Neither of these specific needs are mine, “whitening” or anti-wrinkle, but face masks are good to have around. I mostly just give them to friends who like using them, because I’m more of a full on face mask gal. I wish we could have had one normal product to try rather than two sheet masks, but whatever. This is decent, and these are actually still available for sale.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream (15mL Sample – 50mL is $24.95) – This is a good size sample of a decent product, and it’s not too old either – the batch code is a fairly recent one. If you got one of the Oils of Life minis, you’re one of the lucky ones – that stuff is beautiful, and I use it all through winter, so a little one for travel would have been lovely. This cream isn’t one that agrees with my skin, for some reason, but I know a lot of people who adore it and I’ll pass it on to one of them.

Sasy n Savy SPF Skin Firming Creme (Part of the “Bath and Body mixed samples, but it’s not listed as an option? It appears to be worth $6 on the website) – I find it hard to get past the strong smell of peppermint – why do people put peppermint in day creams? – and it’s got that weird texture I’m not into, where it’s heavy but too fast absorbing. I also tend to be wary of anything that claims to be firming, honestly. This brand has some okay products that I’ve tried, but this isn’t for me. I’ll try it? We’ll see.

Reading those individually, this seems not great. It’s compared to past experiences that I’m excited at the improvement, and I’m willing to give Lust Have It…another month. Let’s see. I’m still disappointed in the lack of availability of certain products and the seeming outdatedness, the occasional clumsiness in curation, but I do appreciate the mix of things.

Bite-Sized Five for February – Absences, Apologies and Photos of My Face

You know when your mental health takes a dive, you revert to less-than-healthy coping mechanisms and then you find yourself crying on a bathroom floor for three days straight and you realise you need to get your meds fixed up and stop doing what you’re doing? And then you leave the state for a while to go hang out at sea and write poetry? And then you’re back but you’re focusing on burying yourself in work and pouring energy into relationships that make you feel happy and supported? No? Not much else I can say then. Mental health is a constant stream of ups and downs and the downs have been pretty prominent recently. Rough.

Let’s not focus on that, and instead focus on some products I have thoughts about!

L’oreal Pure Clay Detox + Brighten Mask – This mask is…wicked intense. I finished my old detoxifying mask, for the rare occasion when I need something deep cleansing, so I picked this up in the Priceline 40% off skincare sale. It’s also good for if I want to use a combination of masks – this on the chin, with something softer everywhere else. It’s way too intense for me for weekly use. It dries incredibly quickly and goes very stiff, and if I leave it on for a full ten minutes I start to feel a burn. But: like the classic, intensely overhyped glamglow, it does the very satisfying action of showing up darker on the pores, and it leaves your skin looking fresh and cleansed and definitely smooth. I do feel like I have to use a lot of product to get a very thin layer, because it dries so quickly, so I imagine this will be finished quickly.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette – I held off on buying this palette for so long. I was so good. But just look at it.

16880740_10155171851035039_815726460_o.jpg

It is absolutely stunning. If you don’t do a lot of warm toned looks, then it is definitely not worth it, but those are my bread and butter. The shadows are incredibly soft, and do kick up quite a bit of powder – I can see how people are panning shades – but they blend beautifully and don’t feel powdery or chalky on my eyelids, even without a primer. The brush is great quality, and I can do a pretty solid quick look using just that brush if I’m on the go, which is a great post-work quality to have for me (likewise, the mirror is top notch). The only shadow I have not really played with is Golden Ochre, because that yellow tone of neutral tends to look a bit sickly on me if not paired with very specific shades, but I don’t mind that as a trade off. My favourites are definitely the red shades, which are so hard to do well – Love Letter, Venetian Red and Red Ochre – Venetian red has some pink tones and some shimmer while Love Letter is truer red, as to Red Ochre which is browned and deep and good for adding depth. I also love the oranges, Burnt Orange and Realgar, and the neutrals-with-a-twist like Buon Fresco. Vermeer is one of the most gorgeous inner corner highlight shades I’ve ever used. Everything is capable of being really powerful, or playing subtle and toned down.

Will it be as much of a workhorse as my Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye palette? Probably not. That palette renders the most out there of shades usable for me. Where this does win out is by being one of the most forgiving palettes I’ve ever worked with, and by being one that I can open up and get excited by. If only the packaging wasn’t damn suede textured. This is going to get so grotty, I can already tell.

I’m wearing some shadows from this palette today along with the mascara and concealer in this Bite Sized Five, so I’ll put a photo at the bottom with a note on which shades I used.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara – This mascara has lost some of its steam in the beauty community over the past couple of years, but it was once the mascara to end all mascaras if you asked around. I mentioned this in my USA Haul, and I have already finished the tube of Roller Lash which will be in my empties (January and February have see many long standing minis of mascara meet their ends – a little spoiler is that I actually really enjoyed Benefit’s Roller Lash and while it didn’t blow me away, it was one of the nicer mascaras I’ve used for definition and curl). Common complaints with this mascara are that the brush is HUGE and SPIKY and VERY DANGEROUS, which I can absolutely confirm; can make lashes look spidery and prone to clumping, also very true; is atrocious to take off. Case in point:

16930552_10155171851150039_507536414_o
Post lashings of Bioderma and my usual makeup removing cleanser, usually a fine combo on mascara – thanks They’re Real, I guess.

Still, as you’ll see where I’ve used it below, when it’s used sparingly and with great caution to avoid eye-stabbing, it’s quite lovely. It’s way too much work for everyday, but I understand why it garnered so much affection. I have since tried it with the designated They’re Real Remover, but I think I’ll stick to oil.

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in Light – Now admittedly, I picked this shade based on…almost entirely guesswork, and it is well and truly too light for me to use on blemishes while I’m at my darkest. I definitely recommend looking up swatches for this. Swatches are even more important if you do what I did and impulse buy this off the tarte website when they have a free international shipping promotion. It is still perfect for under my eyes, and workable for blemishes blended under a concealer. And let me say – this concealer is getting some ridiculous levels of hype. People are putting it at holy grail status. I’m not so quick to make final judgements, but I will say that it is extremely concentrated and creamy with coverage out of its ears. Really, other than the colour range, my main faults with this are the applicator and the scent. The applicator is overly huge and I always just end up dabbing it on with my fingers, and the scent is intense. It’s fake and floral and it lingers for a good few seconds after application.  But this, unlike the mascara, is something I’m willing to work with daily. It’s easy to blend and although creasing isn’t a major problem for me, I don’t have any problems with it. I’m almost tempted to get it in another colour next time tarte have free shipping.

Sunday Riley Luna Night Oil – Another much raved about item, I got this half-sized bottle in a set with the Good Genes treatment. I loved Good Genes, and it will be in my Jan/Feb empties. Luna? Not so much my thing. Admittedly, it’s not targeted at people with my skin type. I am very much combination, and while I get dry in the winter, in summer I can be a sweaty, oily mess. I’m prone to breakouts regardless of oiliness to dryness, and I’m not really that worried about aging yet (at the ripe old age of 21). I do really enjoy oils, though, and this is well reviewed, so I’m glad I got to give this a go. That said, it hasn’t wowed me too much. I’ll keep using it, and I’ll probably prefer it in winter when I go back to dry, itchy Sara skin. It doesn’t break me out, but it is pretty heavily scented and full of extracts that I’m not fussed on. If I had to choose, though, I would have just invested in Good Genes and skipped this guy. In Australia, I can’t bring myself to drop the money on either of them.That’s the honest opinion. In the US, it felt manageable – waiting for a Sephora sale, using a voucher, being a smart shopper. Here, Good Genes is about $150. I don’t think it’s $150 worth of results.

As for the makeup I did with some subtle Modern Renaissance, a frustrating coating of They’re Real and Tarte Shape Tape:

16832936_10155171850950039_1771665220_o.jpg

I’m also wearing Sugarpill’s Trinket on my lips – I’m planning on writing about it at length in my next Recent Lipstick Wrap Up – over Urban Decay Deep lipliner, which gives the liquid lipstick a much more nude look. I love how the gold comes out over the course of wear. I’ve also got the It Cosmetics Brow pencil on, and the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer for some warmth. I only used neutral shades from the ABH palette to stay basic for my day off, laid down some Warm Taupe with Cyprus Umber for depth and then Primavera for lightness on the bulk of the lid. I need a better camera. My skin is great at the moment (hallelujah), so I didn’t have a lot to conceal, but the few things that were bothering me are pretty well covered.

And that’s that!