Things I Bought Abroad – A Collective Makeup/Skincare Haul from All Over The Place

It’s been a while, huh? I noticed how full to the brim my bag of empty things was and then realised that I never got around to writing about the bits and pieces I picked up while I was travelling around different parts of Asia for three weeks. I am, as you might have noticed, a big nerd about skincare. It was nice to be able to pick up some of these things that are harder to get a hold of in Sydney for better prices, and there were also things I just wanted to try. Of course, the same points about consumerism stand as I made when I wrote about the things I bought in the US.

One of the many reasons I’ve posted so little recently is that I’ve been pretty satisfied with my makeup collection. I’m not fussed about adding things in because most of the time, things don’t excite me. I buy things that connect to experiences, largely, or spend money on food and fun and travel, so much travel. And sometimes, for me, skincare is a part of fun and travel! Sometimes makeup is an experience! But sometimes it is something I need less and less.

I also found it interesting to note the difference in attitude between how I packed my makeup for this three week trip as opposed to, say, that US trip or even to week long trips more recently. I condensed all I needed into a single, small makeup bag. I took two of the small Huda Beauty palettes but found myself, on a ship, often just pressing on single colours all over the lid with a finger. I brought plenty of lip options with me, but mostly just wanted to wear easy things with gloss, which wasn’t in my repertoire. When I bought makeup, it was out of enthusiasm for the dominant makeup trends or cool trend pieces. I wanted easy washes of eye colours to match my new purple hair! And I was, to boot, in the home of some great, gentle skincare. I can talk about it, because I’ve been back for a while now to try things out. Then we can get to talking about rubbish.


Now, there are things here you can get in Australia. If I was going to pull the trigger on trying them, why not do it in their home countries without price inflation? I have tried all of these things! It’s an overwhelmingly successful bunch.

The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ is nice. It’s not something I feel I lack an alternative for – I’m okay with my L’aroche Posay SPF50+ – but it is a lot cheaper, and has a similar ultra light feeling. I do find that I break out if I use it too many days consecutively, but that’s not surprising.

I flat out love my two CosRX pickups – the BHA Skin Returning Emulsion and the AHA 7 Blackhead Power Liquid. CosRX can be ridiculously expensive from brick and mortar stores here, and I think I should have picked up some more things to experiment with! I’ve had really bad experiences with AHA before (notably the Paula’s Choice), but I use this one as a morning toner and I adore it. It’s lightweight and nonsticky and doesn’t leave my skin feeling all clogged up. The BHA Emulsion is somewhat thicker and I’ve been using it most nights in place of my Paula’s Choice 2% BHA which I think I must have started growing too adjusted to. I like the little bit of extra moisture it gives. They both also smell super palatable, which has never been my experience with acids.

I’m neither here nor there on the famous Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara – I have pretty naturally curly, long lashes and I was underwhelmed by the ability of this mascara to hold a curl. I know that I’m not the intended audience, though, so I can’t really kvetch. All that said, I have never tried a mascara that stays on the lashes like this. I am talking next day after oil cleansing and micellar water and even a wipe, I will still be near-fully wearing my mascara. So if I’m in need of something that will stay put, this is definitely a winner.

Hey, Maybelline? Why can’t I find anything about this amazing lilac shade of the Fashion Brow Ultra Fluffy online and why can’t I buy it in Australia? It’s such a nice grey purple colour that it manages to look natural but also match my weird purple ends and brown roots? I’ll be using this a lot while the purple is still hanging around my hair.

I went into a banila co. store in Busan (one of my favourite cities) to pick up the Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm, something I’ve been meaning to compare to my usual body shop product, but got side tracked by their lipstick display. Even in the chilly South Korean and Japanese winters I’d been wandering through, there’s something about those glossy, kiss-of-colour lips. I limited myself to just one to try to remove myself from matte lips, the B. by Banila Lipdraw Melting Serum Stick was me sticking my toe into it. I went with a pretty pinky colour and look, I might need to dig in for some of the glossy shades in my collection. Once I picked this up, I wore it most days I was ashore. It doesn’t have great wear time, but it’s easy to apply on the go and it looked super cute.

Probably my favourite thing I bought, bar one alien themed t-shirt not pictured (it has a UFO patch that says “don’t hesitate to take me”), was the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in Berry. This stuff is heavenly. It’s not too sticky or thick but it really stays locked on my lips so that when I wake up in the morning, my lips are soft and repaired and ready for lipstick. Maybe I should have tried the face mask version?


Okay look, I went a bit wild with the Sailor Moon makeup. The blush is surprisingly lovely and I had a lot of fun trying out igari blush – maybe I should be wearing blush? The wand lipstick is even more of a novelty, but the colour and texture are lovely and I just goddamn love Sailor Mercury. And then some novelty sheet masks, because I’m a big nerd and I spent years of my life completely in love with this damn anime.

WakeMake Single Styler Eyeshadow in Purplista was what I picked up to get a soft wash of lilac glitter with my nothing sheen of lipstick, and it did the trick perfectly. It can be built right up or deployed with subtlety, and I really love the formula. It’s also a nice layering shade on top of a deeper purple or brown. I can really heartily endorse the shimmer shades in this line.

And then I lost it in it’s skinIt’s another brand that can be tracked down here, but the stores were everywhere I looked, and so colourful and fun. The colour coordinated range really spoke to me, because the whole experience of selection and curation was so streamlined. I’ve got no strong feelings on the Power 10 Formula One Shot VE Cream which has a nice consistency but isn’t anything spectacular (though doesn’t irritate my skin). I do, however, really love the emulsions. I guess I’m into emulsions now? The Power 10 Formula LI Effector is supposedly for sensitive skin, but it’s a great serum texture and gives moisture without greasiness; the Power 10 Formula PO Effector is a more cosmetic feeling formula with a slip to it, but it does feel nice to use in the morning if I want to take the extra step.

Look. I bought a bunch of stuff. I’m using a whole new cocktail of emulsions and essences and acids. My skin is looking and feeling phenomenal. Perhaps I just needed a shake up. I had an amazing time in Japan and South Korea and China and Vietnam and Thailand and Singapore and everywhere else I ventured. Now it’s time to write about my rubbish!










USA Haul 2016 (or: Acknowledging My Own Consumerist Failures)

I bought so many things, it is genuinely embarrassing. Makeup is a hobby and while I enjoy indulging in things I love, I also acknowledge the problems with buying into a culture that largely trades on commercialising femininity and insecurity but also weaponising those same ideas. It’s a complex industry in terms of its relationships with gender and sexism, and while I have long accepted that my enjoyment of it and my desire to express myself via aesthetic means being a part of that industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean just being complicit. I just think its important to acknowledge the interplays between what we do and how its impacted by the world around us and the intersections of circumstance that have led to this point. I’m holding myself accountable here and I told myself that no matter what I bought, I had to be transparent about it. It’s okay to treat myself, but I have to be honest about the ridiculousness of where that money has gone and how much I spent in the pursuit of material satisfaction and making myself feel lovely.

My thinking centred mostly around the ridiculous pricing of cosmetics in Australia, so I tried to stick to things that were either difficult to access at home or suffered in pricing comparison. I had been putting money aside and been minimising my spending in the months prior. I was also away over Thanksgiving/Black Friday, so I did try to maximise on sales and deals where possible. Alright, have you mentally prepped?

I’m not doing swatches here, but I will definitely be doing some reviews of certain things at later dates. Instead, just pictures and lists and maybe a little bit of explanation of what and why.


  • Sephora Favourites Lash Stash to Go – I needed a new mascara (my Bobbi Brown mini that I took away was just not working out) so I figured the little sampler set with the voucher for a full size was as good of an option as any seeing as I don’t have any true favourite mascara. I basically took a stab on which one to redeem for, on a combination of reviews and chats with people – went with the MUFE. I have used the Blinc mascara before and know I like it for everyday, have been curious to try the Tarte mascara, and the others were a bonus
  • Urban Decay Electric Palette – A total impulse purchase. I was at the outlets outside of Portland in the pre Black Friday madness, and this was reduced in the Luxury Beauty Store to roughly $15, not to mention a further discount for their Black Friday sale that came off the whole sale. There was one palette left, and it’s something I’ve been lustfully eyeing for years, so the impulse purchase finally fell into place. For about $15AUD instead of around $80AUD at Mecca, I’m really happy to have some fun colours to play around with for special occasions and pops of brights
  • Lorac Pro 3 Palette (with Eye Primer) – I knew I wanted to try a Lorac palette, as they’re famously difficult to get to Australia, but the Mega Pro was overwhelming and honestly I didn’t need it, and of the normal pro palettes, this was the one that spoke to me. I’ve already got quite a bit of use out of this – warmer neutrals are my go to colours, and it isn’t as warm as the Modern Renaissance palette (which I somehow abstained from), so it’s a happy medium for me and the mattes blend really nicely.
  • Sephora Favorites Makeup Must Haves Set – This is a Sephora in JCPenney exclusive set, and a strategic purchase. I bought it because I needed a new beauty blender and a new Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (my forever liquid liner). The other things were little split offs – my sister wanted a red lip, and Nars Cruella is something I already own; my mum needed a new mascara, and this was before I had 300 minis; I have a friend who will really appreciate a little pan of Becca Opal with her Christmas presents (I already have one that I’ll never finish) and Urban Decay’s Mushroom is something I haven’t made up my mind on yet.
  • Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Set – I don’t generally do the hair mask thing, so I didn’t think to bring any, but I forgot how brutal washing your hair constantly is and how terrible sea water and chlorine and sun and Hawaii in general are on my hair which is already bleached and bizarrely dyed. Instead of buying one hair mask for the time I was there, I figured I’d try a whole bunch, and I’ve actually really been enjoying them.
  • Sunday Riley Power Couple Set – I came into the trip knowing I wanted to buy Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, because I just wanted to try it (after sampling and making sure it didn’t mess up my skin which thankfully was not the case). I totally didn’t need the full size, though. And I have skincare coming out of my ears. So I bought the duo of half sizes with the Luna oil, and I waited til I got my december $20 voucher on a $50+ purchase, so this worked out cheaper than it was going to be. This was a pretty heavy planned purchase, though.
  • Kat Von D Everlasting Mini Liquid Lipstick Set – I love Kat Von D’s liquid lipstick formula, and I only own one of the colours in the set in a full size (Echo, and I have a friend who will happily take the mini off my hands). This was another planned purchase that worked out way cheaper in Portland than it would have been at home, and I’ve already been wearing certain colours loads. Sante Sangre is a notably beautiful bright red that became my Hawaii staple, and the set-exclusive Plath is truly gorgeous and I can definitely see it being popular in full size.


  • Sephora Collection Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation – Wouldn’t spend the money on the Dior airflash, wanted to try an airbrush foundation, something light for summer.
  • Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation – This foundation does amazing things for my skin, but it costs nearly $100 in Australia and everyone is looking for the Luminous Silk. Even in the states, it’s tough to find in stores at it costs a bit over $60 USD. And then I was at the Luxury Beauty Store, and they had about three shades, and one of them was mine. For $40 USD. I worried about fakes, but I did all the googling, and it seems pretty legit, and it smells and feels like the formula which I’ve been milking samples of for more than a month now. This was a planned purchase as well, but it was planned for $64, so I’m glad it cost less than anticipated and I’m so glad I don’t have to ration it out anymore.
  • Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer – I’ve been meaning to try this bronzer for a while, but the urge finally reached its pinnacle, and Physicians Formula is so much cheaper in the states.
  • Milk Makeup Holographic Stick – Do I dislike the whole Milk Makeup aesthetic? Sure. But I, like everyone else who likes their makeup weird and often ethereal, was fascinated by this product. It is gorgeous on bare skin or a minimal base, has a beautiful shift, but it does feel a little greasy and it will shift what’s underneath it. I wore this one night in Hawaii with no other makeup and I felt like a goddamn fairy.
  • Mac Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Soft Frost – A white that breaks violet, so sort of like the milk stick but in powder form. Beautiful and ghostly and not out in Australia yet, of course, but will undoubtedly have a giant markup like everything else Mac in Australia. Planned purchase.
  • NYX Angel Veil Primer – Honestly, I just needed a primer before we went out one night, and I remembered hearing someone talk about this. Bad Sara.



  • Foreo Luna Play (Black) – I wanted to try out this weird concept because Clarisonics seem like way too much for my very delicate skin, but they are hugely expensive. Turns out this thing is definitely not a staple, but it is really cool and I do really enjoy using it. Planned purchase, in some capacity.
  • Pixi Glow Tonic – This is hugely expensive in Australia, so I thought I’d try the small size, but my skin loathes a cult product. What else is new? It was cheap (I had a 25% off coupon) and someone else will love it
  • Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder – Could not bring myself to buy the set that had this and the Camellia cleansing oil with its weirdly fetishistic geisha namesake, but felt like I should try a Tatcha product and see what they’re about. Just got a mini because the brand’s marketing really irks me, but let’s see how the product goes.
  • Mario Badescu Facial Spray – Somehow I forgot that Hawaii was hot? This was $5 at Nordstrom Rack and it was nice for lying by the pool and for on the plane back to Australia.
  • Lush Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub – I don’t know why I bought this in the US instead of getting it here, other than that I was out one day and my lips really needed a scrub. Bad Sara.
  • Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Mascara – This was the mascara I redeemed the Lash Stash voucher for, because it seemed nice? I’m not going to open it for a while, to preserve it from drying out. I gave my mother the mini.
  • Milk Makeup Tattoo Stamp – Ditto my earlier thoughts on Milk branding, but I am terrible at eyeliner art, and the idea of being able to easily apply little stars of eyeliner really appealed to me. Sephora don’t carry this product, but apparently Urban Outfitters do? It will be fun for specific looks.
  • Mac Sized to Go Pigments in Platinum, Tan and Blue Brown – These were all $5 for the days surrounding Black Friday (and no sales tax, thanks Oregon), and I would never in my life finish a full size pigment – I doubt I’ll finish a mini, to be honest. I wanted Blue Brown before landing, Tan seems really versatile and Platinum was an impulse. I wanted Rose, but sadly it was sold out everywhere.
  • The Body Shop Makeup Brushes – I shouldn’t have bought any Body Shop products, with my staff discount not being applicable overseas, but in a recent product information booklet it appeared that we’d be getting a limited release in Australia, and I thought I’d utilise the buy 2 get 1 offer on brushes. The fan brush is a little denser than my favourite Smashbox fan brush, a little too dense to properly diffuse highlight, but I love the eyeshadow brushes – I got for crease and for blending. Definitely softer and more effective than the already lovely brushes from TBS (I’ll be the hype woman for Body Shop brushes – they’re good stuff). I hope we get the contouring brush in Aus, because I’d like to try it.

Shall we tackle lipsticks?


  • Urban Decay 24/7 Lipliner in 714 – This is in the LE Gwen Stefani packaging, but 714 is a lovely classic matte red and it’s a good liner to use with my finicky reds (714, Ruby Woo, etc). Shoutout to Nordtrom Rack thought – this was like $8.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Lipliner in Deep – Apart from Junkie, all the UD lip stuff was Nordstrom Rack. Wanted a nice nude liner with a little brown to it because my only nude liners are either grey or pink toned.
  • Urban Decay 714 Lipstick – In the Gwen Stefani packaging, it doesn’t seem as matte as the current iteration of 714 (mega matte vice), but I find this to be a more workable version of Ruby Woo – a balanced retro red. My Ruby Woo is nearly finished and I wouldn’t repurchase that one.
  • Urban Decay Temper Matte Revolution Lipstick – I love the Matte Revolution formula (Bad Blood is one of my favourite red bullet lipsticks), so I thought I’d pick up a colour I don’t own a lot of. It’s not a true matte, but this is a pretty red orange shade. I haven’t worn this one yet.
  • Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Junkie – Hey, Urban Decay, bring the blue and green lipsticks to the Australian stores, alright? Don’t shaft us. This was an impulse purchase, and honestly seems similar to something like Lime Crime’s Serpentina (long destashed), but I love it.
  • Mac 4Eva Lipstick – This is a lovely light blue purple as opposed to the dark blue purples that dominate the blue purple market. Mac lipsticks are $17USD and $36AUD and honestly, I should have bought more and planned on buying more and can never get over how rubbish that markup is.
  • Mac A Perfect Score Lipstick – Post Black Friday, I scoured the stores to see which lipsticks had overstock marked down. Did I nearly buy a back up of my beloved Bowl Me Over? Yes, but I stayed strong. Instead, for less than $10, I nabbed A Perfect Score (naff theme aside, the It’s A Strike collection was kind of excellent for lipsticks) because it’s a close enough relative of Russian Red that it can serve as my backup for that, seeing as Russian Red is the only lipstick I routinely finish or need multiples of.
  • Mac All Fired Up – Sure, it’s in the Magic of the Night packaging (which will admittedly look beautiful in my collection of lipsticks), but All Fired Up is a really pretty red-toned fuchsia. I wore this a lot in Hawaii and it’s not as dry as a Ruby Woo which is the main deal with the Retro Matte formula for me.
  • Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte lipstick in Scarlet – My friend loves this formula and I wanted to try it and this was on sale at a CCO. First instinct: bit slippier than I go for, but I’ve only worn it once.
  • Giorgio Armani Lip Magnet in 403 – Was weirdly gravitating towards low maintenance lip colours? I shouldn’t have bought this. This was a Hawaii-brain purchase. It’s not a realistic Sara purchase. I like full impact. I did wear this a lot in Hawaii and hopefully I continue to this summer.
  • Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Duo in Sour Cherry/Gold – Honestly, Sour Cherry is a pretty standard red and I’m on record as not having enjoyed the last Amuse Bouche lipstick I tried, but this duo was $10 and the gold is gorgeous.
  • Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in True Grit – I wanted to try this formula and this was the colour that spoke to me, a true brown. It was between this and Out Loud, which is more of a pumpkin red orange and I kind of wish I’d gone with that, which is more unique in my collection.
  • NYX Cosmic Metals Lip Creams in Dark Nebula and Comets Tail – These are essentially highly pigmented glosses, so while they don’t wear well and feel really slippery, they pack one hell of a punch. I got so many compliments the day I wore Comets Tale in Portland.
  • NYX Butter Lipstick in Big Cherry – I took  my orange butter lipstick with me and was wearing it almost every day so I got this just so I could switch it up a little bit.
  • NYX Velvet Matte Lipstick in Midnight Muse – As if I wasn’t going to try another navy blue lipstick option.

The only non clothing and non makeup stuff I got was from Bath and Body Works, because the rest of it tends to be fairly accessible.


I don’t need to go through that. Things will turn up in empties eventually. Essentially, I’m a sucker for things that smell like Christmas.

And then there’s some points/birthday/free things.


Ulta really came through with the Benefit samples, despite me not caring for the They’re Real line. From Sephora, I (surprising even myself) opted for the skincare option of the birthday gifts over the Marc Jacobs makeup gift, because I don’t use black pencil eyeliner or neutral rosy lipsticks while I do enjoy cleansers and face masks. I redeemed (some) of my many points for the tiny Bite lipstick in Liquorice, the Estee Edit Pore Vanishing Stick and the Dr Brandt. Pores No More primer. The bigger kits didn’t really catch my eye.

And, um. That’s that. I’m too exhausted to self-flagellate anymore. I’ll probably have posts coming up on bigger ticket items, like the palettes, and I’ll definitely be looking closer at some lipstick formulas, but other than that, this is mostly a post about accountability and honesty. Here you are.