Bite Sized Five for the Beginning of August

Sometimes I’m feeling judgemental and I just want to write reviews, so here’s a bite sized five.

Sephora Collection Mud Mask – Purifying & Mattifying – I’m getting better at impulse purchases, but this one was a pick up because it gets raved about as an equivalent to the original GlamGlow mask. My thoughts on GlamGlow as a brand are…strong, and to be expanded upon below. I have a lot of congestion on my skin, but I’m also fairly sensitive when it comes to aggressive skincare. This is the kind of mask that I can only use on my forehead. I need to follow it up with some pretty intensive moisturisation, because as per usual mattifying can be closely associated with drying. I’d say that this mask is nice, and would be lovely for oilier and acne-prone skin, but it does have a very strong pine scent, and it is almost too intense for me. I’ll save it for ultra-congested days.

GlamGlow PowerMud Dualcleanse Mask Treatment (15mL baby size) – I’ll be the first to admit that I loathe GlamGlow’s marketing. It’s all buzzword salad and it irritates me. The Mecca website makes it palateable, but the actual branding is all trademarked OILIXER (it’s just…oils) and CLAYTOX (it’s just…clays) smoke and mirrors. That said, I tried a sample of this a while ago and actually really enjoyed it, so when I needed a travel sized mask to take away with me I decided to splurge on this tiny little tub. Admittedly, nearly $30AUD is a lot to spend on 15mL, and I wouldn’t spend it on a regular basis, but I like how this manages to do the clay mask thing without being drying. My skin looks lovely after I use it.

NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer (Light) – I gravitate towards concealers that promise full coverage, so when NYX launched in Priceline and I could actually find NYX stands full of stock, this little pot caught my eye. With the usual caveat that the pot container makes it pretty difficult to extract and will only get more difficult with time, this is a decent concealer. It gives pretty high coverage and I’m thankful that they came through on that. My main issue with it is that it’s a little stiff – blending it out takes a bit more work than other full coverage concealers like Mac Pro Longwear and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye, but it’s good for spot concealing and when used along with other base makeup it’s untraceable. I’m a fan.

Maybelline Master Conceal (Fair) – This concealer is way too light for me. I knew it when I bought it, but I was impatient and desperate and the others weren’t available and I was heading off to something with really dark undereye circles. It’s workable, when worn with foundation, but I’ll probably give it to a fairer friend. All that said, I have used it a bit, and I’d like to comment on the formula as it’s new to the Aussie market. I love how light and creamy it is, and it gives pretty decent coverage – moreso than my beloved Superstay Better Skin Maybelline concealer. I still prefer that one, as it’s creamier and blends easier – the issue with the Master Conceal is that it tends to pick up on skin texture more than other similar concealers – it settles into pores and fine lines I wasn’t aware off. Not majorly, but enough that I prefer others. It might be nice, say, for cream highlighting, but that’s not my thing.

CoverFX Illuminating Primer (deluxe sample size) – Illuminating primers are just not for me and I’m going to give up on trying. This goes onto the skin looking fine at first, but as soon as I step into the sun I notice visible flecks of glitter, even through foundation. It doesn’t do much in the way of smoothing or wear extending, and frankly, I have yet to find a foundation that I love it with. Maybe a great product for people who want to shine all over, but this is totally not for me.

I’m going to try and do two Bite Sized Five posts a month. I think a lot of products will end up not being new to me, but rather just products I’ve been using and feel like talking about.

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Black Moon Cosmetics – Black Metal Trilogy: Liquid Matte Lipstick Review (and Dupes)

I bought the Black Metal Trilogy from Black Moon Cosmetics because my family got some awful news, I was having a weak moment, and instagram is a dangerous place. Seriously, have you seen these?

I will preface this review by saying that since these lipsticks arrived in the mail, I have worn Sorrow and Armageddon and almost nothing else, without fail, every day I’m not at work. If you don’t feel like reading a rambling review, that should give you a little insight into my thoughts. I can also quite summarily say that if you are Australian, these beautiful suckers are expensive. I ended up spending about $90AUD on these in total, and while  $30 a piece isn’t too bad for a lovely liquid lipstick, it’s a lot to spend on something you can’t swatch in person and on something you might not wear every shade of. While they did, at first, feel utterly unique, it was kind of sad to look into my collection and realise I own a collection of liquid lipsticks that have gone for a very similar effect that do retail separately and cost significantly less, albeit the formula has a couple more kinks. These thoughts and more to follow!

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Packaging – I mean, usually I wouldn’t mention it, but the packaging for these is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life. I tore into the box far too quickly to get those beautiful photos I wanted to take, but the black with silver accents – unf. The tubes themselves are very witchy and look like little magical vials and it’s so in line with everything I go for. The doe foot applicators on these are also huge and paddle-esque, but enable a really neat application with a clean line.

Formula – Consistently between the three of these liquid lipsticks, there is one swipe opacity and a beautiful matte metallic finish on the lips. Not as metallic as something like the LA Splash Day of the Dead collection, but pretty intense. They also smell of cupcakes, and not in the way that makes me want to throw up. Despite being fairly consistent, there is a weak shade of the three – Immortal, the purple, lacks the same intensity of the other shades, and is a bit denser in glitter so requires a bit more work to get the actual pigment spread around. Sorrow and Armageddon are actually dreams to work with. They feel drier on the lips, obviously, than a cream formula, but as far as matte liquid lipsticks go they are some of the least drying I have used. While you can feel them on the lips, there is no cracking or peeling, and it’s easy enough to ignore them.

Wear Time & Reapplication – I have photos of some wear below, but these are some extremely stubborn liquid lipsticks. They do wear away in spots  when faced with oily food, but will look near perfect after snacking and drinking. Armageddon is particularly wonderful for this. They reapply extraordinarily well, without any flakiness or clumpiness.

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This is Armageddon after going to town on some churros and a can of coke

Colours/Lip Swatches – My favourite of the collection is Sorrow, for obvious reasons. Have you read this blog before?

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Sorrow

It’s like I’m wearing the night sky on my lips. The opacity is outstanding, especially for a blue lipstick. It’s a compliment catcher – I’ve never worn this and not had people comment on how gorgeous it is. It’s definitely on the cooler side of navy blues, and I’d say it’s black based – blue on black.

I’ve worn Armageddon nearly every day since owning it, because it’s normal enough that I can throw it on to walk the dog without too much fuss (it’s red, after all), but there’s that extra level brought to it by the metallic nature that makes it more than an ordinary red.

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Armageddon

The shift to Armageddon is silvery, and the red base is a cooler toned red. It’s a killer combo.

Immortal is definitely my least favourite of the three, but that’s not to say it’s not gorgeous. It’s more to do with the fact that I don’t tend to wear greyer toned purples as often, as well as the chunkier formula, with a more tangible glitter to it.

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Immortal

The actual purple is a grey toned smoky purple with silvery green reflects, and I just find it wears quicker and takes more work to apply. By “more work”, I mean it takes about a standard amount of work for a metallic liquid lipstick, which is not what I was used to with the first two shades.

Dupes/Alternatives – Ordinarily I shudder at the overuse of “dupe”, but the reality is that with such lovely colours brought onto the market, I also have a huge distaste for inaccessibility. These lipsticks, beautiful as they may be, are not the most accessible. When I bought them, slightly feverish and lured in by the idea of artificial scarcity from the “limited edition” label, a lot of that had to do with the fear of missing out, and the lack of ability to buy them separately. I didn’t think about the Australian dollar, or the shipping, or the fact that Immortal was probably not for me, and I knew that reviews of the brand were scarce and reviews of these specific colours would be even harder to come across. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to make sure I had given these are really sturdy test before I wrote this review.

When we get swept up in things, we’ll convince ourselves that they are more unique than they actually are. These lipsticks, while absolutely beautiful and worth it – for me, as a lipstick devotee and someone who values and uses them enough to see the worth in an impeccable formula – are not as unique as my initial gut sense screamed at me based on instagram posts. On receiving them, my first familiar instinct was to pull them up against a recent colour release from a favourite formula of mine, some Fyrinnae liquid mattes:

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From top to bottom, that’s Fyrinnae’s Phantasma on top of Immortal (biggest difference between shades – Immortal is much warmer next to Phantasma); Fyrinnae Candied Kisses on top of Black Moon Armageddon (Candied Kisses is a slightly more orange toned red); Fyrinnae Sugar Coated on top of Black Moon Sorrow (near identical in colour terms). Off the top of my head, I suspect Sorrow would also be similar to Impulse Cosmetics’ Poe, which I don’t own.

The differences, while there, aren’t huge. On the lips, minor. I’m probably even overestimating them based on my own obsessiveness in regards to colours. The Fyrinnae formula is a lot more watery, and does require either a liner or a couple of thin coats, but it shares the same comfort on the lips.

 

TL;DR – The fact of the matter is that if these aren’t colours that you need need need, there are other things out there that are available separately and aren’t limited edition and don’t cost $90 shipped to Australia.

I personally am thrilled with this purchase. I love Armageddon and Sorrow and can not stop wearing them. That won’t stop me whipping out Candied Kisses and Sugar Coated, because I love them as well (I reviewed them here), but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I loved the ease of applicated provided by the simplicity of applying a bold metallic colour in one stroke. If Black Moon Cosmetics bring out more unique shades, I now have a great deal of faith in their ability to formulate them. With shades I can get elsewhere, available individually, they might not be my first pick.

Rating – Armageddon – 5/5

Sorrow – 5/5

Immortal – 3/5

Black Moon Cosmetics Black Metal Trilogy – 4/5 (With footnotes)

July Empties 2016

Look at my junk! There’s so much of it. Oh no.

Halfway through July, I thought “hmm…it’s weird that I haven’t used much stuff up this month” and then suddenly things happened.

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The Body Shop Japanese Camellia Cream – I finished a big body moisturiser! It’s always exciting because it usually takes me so damn long. Of course, it’s much easier to finish things when you’re excited to use them, and this cream smells gorgeous and it’s got a really light, air-whipped texture so it sinks in super quickly and doesn’t make you sticky. In winter, it was a little cold on the skin (a byproduct of that texture), but it’s so lovely, and I wish it was cheaper so it was a little less of a treat-yourself body cream. I’m happy to treat myself, but sometimes it’s like “When you stop working at the body shop, that cream is going to cost you $52.95. Don’t love it too much”. Repurchase? With staff discount, absolutely. Without, eugh, probably. Eugh.

Lush Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask – This was my freebie face mask for returning five empty Lush pots (accumulated over about a year’s time). I’m on the fence with it – I actually really enjoyed this particular mask, definitely my favourite of the ones I’ve tried from Lush, but I cannot stand the Fresh Face Masks in general. It did a good job of leaving my skin cleansed but hydrated, without doing anything particularly intense on the clearing/smoothing side of things, but didn’t set off any sensitivities. It’s just that you only get a month’s use from them, and they go bad so quickly and it just feels like throwing money down the sink. Especially as someone who doesn’t like to use the same face mask every week. Repurchase? Probably not, but I would get it again as another “you’ve finished five pots” freebie.

Pantene Colour Therapy Conditioner – This is just a standard cheap conditioner for coloured hair, despite not being sulphate free, but I wanted to get something simple I could toss a bunch of blue dye into to preserve my colour with and it did the job. Repurchase? I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I’m not attached.

CPR Always Blonde Shampoo – Obviously I am not blonde, but a friend gave me this following the logic that the product itself is blue and therefore it should work well with my blue hair. It did fine. Shampoo is shampoo. Repurchase? No, because I think this stuff is expensive for stuff that didn’t really work wonders.

The Body Shop Colour Crush Eyeshadow in Gorgeous Gold – I bought this back when I first started working at the Body Shop, so well over a year ago now. I had actually hit pan – it’s one of my favourites – but then I dropped it on tiles and it shattered everywhere, so it’s out the door. It’s also recently been discontinued, which makes me a little bit irritated. This is the perfect true yellow gold and it goes on as a satiny metallic, and we don’t have another similar shade in the range (the closest is Bronze Bliss, which is considerably more brown toned). I do have a backup, so no fretting, but it’s frustating that it’s going. I also have qualms with the Colour Crush shadow packaging, and wish they were more secure in their compacts. Repurchase? Did so when this broke, and if you can find it now it’s on sale for $4.95, but it’s going to be gone soon so the possibility to repurchase didn’t last long.

Australis Matte Me Mattifying Lipstick Base – This isn’t empty, but it’s half done and hardened to the point of being unusable. When I first got it, I hated it and didn’t see the point – it’s essentially useless with already matte or super creamy formulas. I then fell in love with it – it’s perfect with formulas like the one from The Body Shop or other creams where the colour is matte but the formula isn’t because it does that job for you. And then it just became something I couldn’t be bothered with, which is what I’ve ended up feeling. If that’s what you’re after, and you can be bothered, sure. Repurchase? No

Dove Deodorant – I think I’ve said all I can say about this. Repurchase? Clearly

Your Tea Skin Magic Tea – This is nowhere NEAR empty but I wanted to put it in here because I wanted to report back after how accidentally aggressive I got in my June Bellabox. Not only do all of the points I made still stand, but I gave this to my sister, who actually loves all of those tea skin cleanse crap things, and even wasn’t a fan. I had a sip and we agreed that it tastes like a bad version of nothing. Purchase? Ha

Australis Eyeshadow Primer – I cleaned out the last holdout from my big makeup cleanout which was mascaras/eyeliners/eye makeup, and a few things which had considerable use got thrown in the empties bag. Australis do some good stuff, but this eyeshadow primer is crap. It’s totally pointless, does nothing for longevity, has no grip to it, it’s just a flop. Repurchase? No. Even the Essence primer is better.

Rimmel Wonder’Full Mascara with Argan Oil Waterproof – I don’t generally dig Rimmel mascaras, with a few completely exceptional exceptions. I bought this one because it looked vaguely like a Rimmel mascara in a silver tube I had picked up in 2014 when I was in the UK and I was hoping the formula would be similarly amazing, but it wasn’t, and it was underwhelming and I don’t remember it doing much for my lashes and I think it smelled weird and was a pain to get off and kind of clumpy. Repurchase? No

Essence Lash Princess Mascara– I remember next to nothing about this mascara other than the fact that for how cheap it was, it was pretty decent. Not good enough that I’d pass up on other, nicer drugstore mascaras for it, but if I was ever in a really tight bind and needed urgent mascara with less than a tenner, I’d happily go for it in that ultra unrealistic situation. Repurchase? Probably not, but it’s by no means bad.

Rimmel Super Curler Mascara – Speaking of exceptions to the Rimmel mascara thing, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one! I don’t remember how I came to own it – did I buy this? Did I receive it? Where did it come from? – but I really enjoyed the curl, volume and definition it gave to my lashes without excessive clumping or any flakiness. I enjoyed it to the point where receiving another tube of it in a subscription box didn’t make me roll my eyes and hand it off to a friend, but keep it as a backup for when this one ran out. Repurchase? I don’t know where I enjoy it enough that I’d rebuy it, but I’m definitely super happy to use my backup tube and decide at the end of that.

Maybelline Full’n’Soft Mascara – I used to non-stop rave about this mascara because it gave the most natural-but-better lashes I had ever seen. I haven’t used it in a long time, so I need to get a new tube and refresh my memory (I do prefer the waterproof for longevity), but I absolutely loved this mascara and I hope it stands up to my memories. Repurchase? The waterproof version, absolutely.

Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner – This liquid liner is great for precision and if you’re on a budget, but the truth of the matter is that now I’ve gone Kat Von D, I can’t go back. This one dries out so quickly, and it ends up being much more expensive to just keep buying it than to splash out the $30 once every 5 months or so for the other one. Repurchase? Not anymore, but it used to be my favourite.

Maybelline Hyper Sharp Liquid Liner – The shape wasn’t my favourite, and I couldn’t get the same precision as with the Master Precise. Repurchase? No

L’oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim – Of the non-Kat Von D liquid liners, this is my favourite. It lasts longer than the other Priceline liners (I get a good three or four months use) and the felt tip is long and thin so it’s easy to maneuver. Repurchase? Maybe

Phew. Alright, sample time.

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Swisspers Make Up Pads – I talk about make up rounds every month but the basics of it are that my favourites are from Target, and I use these when I can’t be bothered to get my ass to Target. Repurchase? When I run out of Target ones, probably, because I am lazy.

Sasy N Savy Peppermint N Rosemary Bath N Shower Gel – I received this in the June Lust Have It bag, and though it had a lovely aroma, I was nonplussed by it and all of its Ns. I took it on my weekend in the Hunter Valley, which was a bad mistake, because it was fucking freezing and a pepperminty shower gel really just emphasised that. It’s a gel consistency, and my skin felt really dry afterwards, but it could have been the cold. Purchase? No

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – Little baby size of a mascara that is more money than I would spend on a mascara, and honestly, I was very underwhelmed by this. The actual effect it gave was nice enough – full, thick lashes – but it’s the flakiest mascara I’ve ever used. I know they have a specific mascara primer, but I don’t believe it should be necessary for a mascara to be usable. Purchase? No

Kate Somerville Eradikate in a Snap – With essentially the same concept as a Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or one of those dual phase spot treatments that never really worked for me, the most recent Mecca Beauty Loop box came with one of these cotton buds. One. A single use. You snap it and the product dispenses and you can put it on a few spots and that’s that. It’s a stingy sample and I have no idea if it’s any good, but I’m guessing it’s pretty useless because these treatments never work for me and I have never had any luck with a Kate Somerville product. Purchase? No

Fortune Cookie Soap Company Whipped Creams in We’re All Mad Here and Reflection – Bunch of little whipped cream samples came with my last order. Strongly dislike the formula – way too thick and balls up on the skin, makes me feel sticky. I preferred We’re All Mad Here and Reflection was a little too floral but that’s all I remember. Purchase? No

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (Oily/Combination Skin) – I’m sure this serum is fine, but it totally solidified in its sachet. Nah. Purchase? No

Fortune Cookie Soap Company Steam Me Up Scotty in Serenity – I use these on nights when I’m stressed and exhausted and about to get straight into bed. This one fills the shower with lavender and I love it, but it’s too expensive to use regularly. Repurchase? When I’ve finished my other two, probably.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Cream Cleanser – This is fine. It hurt my eyes. Eh. Purchase? No

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Facial Cleansing Oil – I liked this as a cleansing oil, and I like the Cocoa Butter smell. It didn’t blow me away, and it didn’t really get at my waterproof eye makeup. Purchase? No

Avon Nutra Effects Night Cream – Eugh, Avon, eugh, natural marketing. Purchase? No

And a little segment just for Body Shop samples/delux sized, because there’s always so many. A couple of yet-to-be-launched products in here too, which is a little sneaky, but I figure it’s game to share because reviews have started hitting the international market.

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Aloe Day and  Night creams – I use the night cream religiously and I love it. It’s gentle, not active, doesn’t mess with anything else, and just crams in come hydration. For the day cream, the same goes, but I prefer something with a lighter texture – I’ve been using the Drops of Youth one for quite a while, and I kind of love it. I used these little travel pots up over quite a length of hospitalisations and weekend trips, and they came as a part of a mini set but it is no longer sold in Australia. Repurchase? Definitely on the night cream, and maybe if my skin is irritated and I need a simple cream for daytime, maybe that.

Italian Summer Fig EDT – I love this perfume (I own a full bottle that I got as a gift) and so I like getting little vials, like I received in one of my subscription boxes. It’s only enough for a few uses,  but it’s handy for the handbag. Purchase? I have more than enough perfumes, but this is a fresh-woody-fruity blend and I own it already.

Masks! We don’t have samples of the two I actually want to try – the Acai and the Ginseng – but the packaging is gorgeous and they’re an exciting launch.

Himalayan Charcoal Face Mask – To match the body mask, which is a little too inconvenient for me, this is a standard put-on-and-wait-til-it-dries face mask. It’s too intense for me – if I did it again I would only use it on my forehead – because it’s got the clay and the exfoliating factor, but it would be nice if you like something that is intensely exfoliating while “detoxing” in the extent that detoxing is at all a thing. Purchase? Probably not, as it’s too intense for me

British Rose Face Mask – I’ve never really been one for softer masks because they rarely give me effects I couldn’t get from a moisturiser (I like the Sukin one I have, but I was underwhelmed by the Glamglow and some others). I did actually really enjoy this – it has a gel texture, and it smells like roses, which isn’t usually my thing, but it manages to be simultaneously refreshing and hydrating. I couldn’t care less about the firming claims, though, so I can’t say to have tested them. Purchase? Maybe, but I’ll try the others first

Ethiopian Honey Face Mask – I loved how this mask felt on my skin – super hydrating and somehow also cleansing – but I can’t get past.the smell. I’m sure it’s just the raw honey smell, but holy shit, this smells kind of baby vomit to me. Some people are going to love this, though. Purchase? No.

Instaglow CC Creams in Peachy Glow and Bright Glow – I tried these out just because they were brand new, but they just weren’t for me. They provide next to no coverage, which makes sense for a CC cream, but they’re probably best for people who already have perfect skin. They’re also very glowy, which isn’t really my aesthetic. I like them in small doses – I’ve been using the Warm Glow one as a liquid bronzer, and I like using them mixed in with foundations, but for me, I wouldn’t get enough out of them to buy a full size. Purchase? No

Pomegranate Softening Face Wash – I’ve been using the same face wash for ages, so I’ve been trying a bunch of new ones out of curiosity but none of them quite measure up. This one is lovely, smells good, not drying at all, but it’s a little too much for me. I prefer my unscented, less lathery cream cleanser. Purchase? No

Tea Tree 3-In-1 Wash.Scrub.Mask – This is another new launch, but a bigger hit than the CC creams for me. Way too intense for me to use as a wash, and honestly, I probably wouldn’t recommend it as a wash for anyone because too much manual exfoliation is rarely good, but as an occasion scrub this is lovely. It’s more intense than the OG tea tree scrub (which is my favourite face scrub because it’s super cleansing but still gentle), but it’s nice for something different. It worked alright as a mask too, but it took quite a while to dry. Purchase? Maybe, when I run out of my existing scrubs

Vitamin C Microdermabraision – This is such a popular product, and it’s loved by so many people, and I just wanted to make sure it was still too intense for me. Yep, still too much. Way too much. If you like a super intensive physical exfoliant that isn’t as broad and actively scratchy as a St Ives scrub, this is a good option, but for me, it’s a no go zone. Purchase? No

Finally we’re through! A little overwhelming for me as well. Will it slow down? Probably not.

July Lust Have It 2016 – Unboxing/Review

This bag came on the 29th of July, so it made it in within the month. I spent that day on the drive to a mini family trip to wine country. Basically, my stomach hurts. I drunk a lot and I ate a hell of a lot of cheese. Usually I would have tested these products out in passing, but a few of them got a nice, real life test. Unfortunately, no swatches. We’re in a pickle here.

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Not pictured: the black version of the bag – into it

“Hey Sara, you went to a bunch of wineries, why’d you take a photo on some nondescript wood?” Look man, it was an emotionally heavy weekend.

The theme for this bag is “All About Makeup”, which is cute, and it is a makeup heavy bag – three makeup items. Not all about makeup, though, if I were to pick a nit. Also about a couple of other things.

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Teeez Cosmetics Desert Metals Mascara (Full size; RRP $32.50 – seems about right with exchange rate) – Now, for me to want to spend $32.50 on a mascara, it would have to do incredible things. This mascara may not be magical, but the packaging is admittedly stunning. It’s also a pretty decent mascara – it gives you some length, some volume, gets right in there and does the job. It’s brown! I don’t own a brown mascara, because my colouring tends to demand intensity (I have blue hair, for heaven’s sake). I would argue that it isn’t easy to wash off, which is their claim, but it didn’t flake or run on me, which outweighs ease of washing it off.

MPrincess Mineral Blush in the shade Strawberry Kisses (Full size; RRP $15.45 although the website says $16.99) – I don’t wear blush, as a rule, so I rolled my eyes at this inclusion. Holy shit, though, this is beautiful. Not only does the name evoke the Nikki Webstar song that defined my girlhood, but the colour is a soft pinky lavender and it blends so wonderfully on the cheeks. It’s one of the few blushes I’ve tried that ends up looking soft and not like I’ve got natural redness/pink coming through. It’s a little overfull, so the sifter is inconvenient, but it’s such a lovely formula.

Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in the shade Rich List (Full Size; RRP $29 although the website says $22.50) – This could have been a great eyeshadow, despite my general wariness of unfamiliar loose eyeshadow formulas – I trust Fyrinnae, I trust My Pretty Zombie, but what the fuck are Marsk? This eyeshadow is pretty, but sadly it’s just not for me. It’s a total glitterbomb, heavy on the fallout, and a bit of a pain on application.

Essenzza Fuss Free Naturals Masquerade + Moisturise Mask (Full size; RRP $4.95) – This brand sells a strange assortment of goods – sheet masks, face wipes…ear candles? It seems like a pretty basic sheet mask, and it’s not really my thing – especially with the emphasis on moisture, rather than things like smoothing, but I always question the effectiveness of sheet masks for anything other than moisture anyway. The masquerade gimmick is cute.

Glamourflage Saucy Sue Shower Cap (Full size; RRP $7.95?) – This was the “mystery item”, so I have no information on it, but it seems like a pretty standard fake silk shower cap with a pinup-esque print. I don’t use shower caps because I don’t style my hair or really ever do anything, but this is cute anyway and I liked enough other stuff in this bag that I don’t mind.

This bag had more of an emphasis on smaller, high value items, and I liked that. Even though the eyeshadow was a miss for me, the blush and mascara were big successes, so the shower cap and mask whatevers that were chucked in were fine being just that. I do wish the prices given were a little more in line with what things actually retail for, especially when they only sell from one location and are full size items (everything was full size! No bad maths!), but it’s again, a little nit to pick.

Another 3.5/5 for this bag, and most of that is because I really really love that blush. Like, that blush might be the blush that makes me wear blush.

July Bellabox 2016 – Unboxing/Review

Now, these pictures are terrible. These are some of the worst photos that have ever graced my blog. My plan was to retake them in the morning before posting this, but one of the items in the box has already been ripped from me and taken to the depths of my sister’s room, never to be returned. This box answered her prayers. It’s not my favourite box, but she’s over the moon about it. Let’s investigate the contents!

Of course, not including the bits of rubbish that I’m ignoring the HelloFresh “voucher” because as I’ve explained before, they make me angry and Bellabox have given up on even including them on the card. Beyond that, there’s also a $30USD voucher for Sweet & Spark, which is a vintage costume jewellery website. That’s fine, but it’s not a cheap, and I couldn’t really give a toss about costume jewellery. If you’re into that stuff, though, I’m sure you’ll find something nice (and the code is BELLABOX16).

Then there is the actual, usable stuff.

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And the card, with all the info (and the theme, which is apparently “Back to basics” – although how a purple eyeshadow fits that, I’m not sure).

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Klorane Shampoo and Conditioner with Quinine and B Vitamins (Both retail in full size for $13.95, the shampoo is in a little bottle with two uses but the conditioner is a foil sachet; I gave the shampoo about $1.30 value in my Marie Claire but honestly I’ve had so many of these recently I’m going to cap the combined value at $1, because when you’ve received something for free four times in three months, it starts to lose its perceived value) – I’ve got all these samples building up and I never use them because I’m busy using stuff for my very very coloured hair, or stuff that comes in bottles with more than two uses. My time is worth more than that. I’m sure this stuff is fine? I’ll use it eventually I guess.

Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy Intensive Cream (100mL full size, RRP for $13.99) – This stuff, which I have used before, is great for easily irritated skin. My sister loves it, and has stolen all of my past tubes of it, and since it stopped being available at Priceline (there’s no Amcal locally) she has been stealing all of my other moisturises. I figured that since this was probably going to end up stolen anyway, I may as well pass it straight over to her, and no sooner was the offer extended she had snatched it up and taken it away. It’s nice to get a full size, and of a product that is basic, but good.

Gosh Mono Eyeshadow (Mine is in Aubergine, RRP is $24.95) – As of right now, Gosh Cosmetics aren’t available in Australia, so I appreciate that this is a little preview of sorts while they secure a stockist. The RRP seems a little high – I’ve tried Gosh while in the UK, and it’s very much a drugstore brand, so singles for $25? If the quality is up there with the Prestige Cosmetics singles, maybe. The colour I got is, obviously, an eggplant purple with a satiny shimmer. It could have swatched smoother, and I wish the purple was a little richer and less brown, but I can see it being quite nice. I can definitely report back on blendability and versatility. Here’s a swatch:

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It does actually go on the lids quite nicely, albeit a little muddy when you work with it.

Revo Lip Balms (Mine is Melon Mint, these retail for $4.99) – I like the smell of this, but I’ve had bad experiences with EOS balms and their ilk. This will probably get given to my mum or sister – I prefer more emollient balms, when I do use lip balms – I want things that can really get in there and hydrate overnight or at the beginning of my morning so that when I remove excess product, my lips are totally dry but kept soft. Not my thing.

Baimeni Hydrating Eye and Face Serum with Hyaluronic Acid (Full size is 30mL for $25.00; this lil baby is 3mL so $2.50) – Now this is my kind of thing. Looking at the ingredients list for this is actually really exciting for me – hyaluronic acid is the next ingredient after purified water, and I’ve been wanting to try something rich in HA but not heavy in too much else (though I’m not mad at the inclusions of glycerin, aloe vera, lactic acid, that sort of thing – the ingredients list is pretty nice), and my skin is pretty dry in this miserable weather. I tried it out amongst my nighttime routine, and it’s quite lovely – lightweight, but hydrating. 3mL should give me quite a few uses, especially as the packaging is not a shitty foil sachet.

Palmers Ultra Gentle Facial Cleansing Oil (Listed as a bonus item so ostensibly no value, but I’m pretty happy with the inclusion despite booo foil sachet; full size is 192mL for $14.99) – Sure, it’s a tiny boring sachet, but Palmers products smell nice and I like cleansing oils. This one is nice enough, though a little thicker and, um, oilier than than my favourite cleansing oil options, but it smells nice and it does the job. I can’t use it directly in the eye area, but that’s me with most options. Thankfully this foil sachet is more than one use.

 

So overall value wise, this rounds out at about $47.50 (not including the voucher-esque content, or the palmers sample), but the content was okay. That’s really what it comes down to. I’m really happy to try out the Baimeni serum, something I wouldn’t have otherwise found, and the Gosh shadow and Physiogel cream are both nice inclusions (though the latter doesn’t end up in my hands). The rest is kind of give or take. It’s, maybe, a 2.5/5 box? I’ve had worse, definitely.

Oh Bellabox. Our relationship is hanging on by a thread. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m hanging in there.

Basics of Bases – My Ride or Die Base Products

There is absolutely no reason for a post about bases, other than the fact that I’m super enthusiastic about a couple of things. Half of the lead up to the post was just debating whether or not to make the title a song reference – I decided “Totally addicted to base-s” was a little too on the nose. This isn’t an in-depth review, although I might come back and talk more about these products again later at greater length, but I wanted to give an overview on the products that have been my staples. Whether it’s been a couple of months or a couple of years, they’ve all wormed their way into my heart and I’ve formed pretty solid opinions on all of the products featured.

I’m a pimple-prone girl with bumpy mystery skin. In the summer, I get slick and sweaty, but right now I am normal to dry. I’ve got a lot of texture and redness and little bits of scarring and of course, the spots, so it’s pretty rare that I’ll leave the house without a concealer. I feel more comfortable, and more like myself. If I’m going out or feeling more energised, I’ll wear a foundation and powder, regardless of what I layer on top or beneath – that’s why these three categories were the ones that felt like the real essentials to me.

Concealers

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Concealer (This photo is of the Medium shade, which I use if I am miraculously tan; generally I use the Light) – Maybelline get a lot of praise for their FitMe concealer, and for that weird one with the sponge applicator, but those ones have never done it for me. I like my concealer full coverage, and though this is the lightest of the three, it is still more than enough to make any breakouts look better. If you’re oily it will definitely need setting, but I like the liquid consistency for how easily it blends out and how little I need to use. Cheap and cheerful, wish there were more shades.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer (Medium) – I was wary of this concealer, because most of its devotees tend to be quite dry skinned, but thankfully this was a match made in heaven. The coverage is out of this world and it is rich and creamy, perfect for the under-eye area (but also usable with the excess around the face). It needs setting, non-negotiable, but you also only need to use the tiniest bit imaginable to get your skin looking flawless.

Mac Prolongwear Concealer (NC20) – I, like everyone else who has tried this concealer, loathe the packaging. The pump is ridiculous and will inevitably pump out more product than you need, because you need hardly anything to get good coverage. It also sets nicely, far less transfer prone than the IT cosmetics offering, so it’s actually good for the face and the under eyes (I tend not to mess with my under eyes unless I’ve had a really rough night). It’s always the coverage that does it for me, and how much product you get – there’s loads in here, and it packs a punch.

Foundations

Rimmel Matte BB Cream (Light) – It’s rare that I’ll go for lighter coverage base, and this is another one that you don’t hear a lot about online or in the beauty community. The reason I love it is because I love having the ease of a BB cream without the greasy,  gross, glowy finish most alphabet creams will give you. I know a lot of people love that, but it just highlights the textural issues with my skin, and I end up feeling gross. This one isn’t the longest wearing, but paired with some good concealer, I’ve got a super easy lightweight base that evens me out without feeling heavy or dull or flat. It definitely runs dark – when I am the lightest shade of the three available, there are some issues there at both ends of the scale.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation (Light Medium Neutral) – I’m about halfway through my second tube of this foundation, and while I no longer reach for it every single day – I’m more often satisfied with something softer – I still harbour my love for it. For textured skin, there’s something magical about the mousse formula in the way it smooths over the surface without highlighting the places where lumps and bumps lurk. I love the coverage it gives – medium to full, and definitely buildable – and how easy it is for me to make my skin look close to flawless with this foundation.

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation (024 Hawaiian Macadamia) – When this foundation first launched, I was not a fan. I wasn’t used to seeing my skin without full coverage, and I didn’t like letting my skin be itself. As I’ve been wearing it every day to work for the past three months, I’ve developed a passionate love affair with it. This has become my most worn day-to-day, day off foundation. It’s light-medium coverage, nicely buildable, but what’s important to me is how nicely it wears. I can wear it for a twelve hour day, and as it wears down I’ll see a glow to my skin, but there isn’t patchiness or clinging. Instead, even oily gross me, just soft and fresh looking, and the coverage stays there, even if a few more things peek through than at the start of the day. It’s not the coverage I thought I wanted, but for something for everyday, it’s lovely.

Powder

The Body Shop All In One Face Base (05) – Basically, when I want something not totally matte, I go for either this or the Australis Fresh and Flawless powder (except the colour options in that are not great). I like the compact, because of ease of reapplication, and I like the natural finish, and it’s basically just simple and easy and done. I haven’t been going for matte finishing powder as often, because I find that it’s the biggest contributor to clinging around my dry patches/spots, so I’ve been reaching for this way more often to set.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (Sandstorm but I own most of them and see minimal difference) – If I am, perchance, feeling like I want to be matte, I am a cliche and go for the classic Stay Matte powder. I haven’t bought this is a long time, because I don’t reach for it like I used to – matte just isn’t as flattering as it used to be. The packaging is also, for what it’s worth, atrocious – this is the only one I have owned without a cracked lid. It’s still good stuff, and it’s cheap, and it does what it says it will do. I need to reapply it fairly frequently, but I know what to expect.

And now I have totally addicted to base stuck in my head. Great.