August Lust Have It 2016: Unboxing/ Review

Lovely to come back from my two week marathon migraine to a a Lust Have It birthday box only partially chewed up by my dog. And only the outer packaging, too! So considerate of him. What an angel.

I am of two minds in regards to this bag. On the one hand, I love it. It has one bigger ticket item that is a formula I’ve been keen to try for ages but haven’t pulled the trigger on. On the other, the longer I look at it, the more faults I can find, and a lot of them relate to the way this bag was sent out. It was on time, but it was the kind where you look at the card and go “Oooh!” and then look at your stuff and go “…oh”, you know? I’ll explain that better:

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First thing you might notice is that they’ve listed the Baimeni serum as full size, when it is clearly not, giving the impression that this is almost a wholly full sized box. Lust Have It, bless their cotton socks, did send out an email straight notifying us of the error, but I forgot about that and was immensely disappointed. I actually really like that serum, and a full size would have been awesome, although probably not viable for a small company.

This then trickles down to the banner promising that the “Birthday Box [is] over $100 in value!”, and if we’re to go based on the included values…it isn’t. That’s a false statement. I’m well aware that values in these are always inflated, but come on guys. I don’t know. I get that it’s a birthday box, but don’t overhype yourselves. I’ve also a bit over the whole “mystery item” thing Lust Have It do – I love the occasional inclusion, like my Paula’s Choice BHA 2% Perfecting Liquid, but more often than not these things feel like samples Lust Have It had lying around.

There’s also a competition this month, a bigger one than usual, to win a trip to Thailand, which is a nice idea – especially since Lust Have It is a smaller subscription than something like Bellabox or Marie Claire The Parcel. What did make me laugh was that the 9 day holiday you can win includes accomodation for “2 adults & 1 child”. It’s just such a weird choice of prize for me. Like surely, if you’re doing the total bliss thing, you encourage people to leave the kids at home, or you go full standard household and include 2 kids? What’s a kid? Could I bring my baby sister? What does this mean? I love it, it’s such a weird choice.

Anyway, enough of my confusion re: the bag itself.

What’s inside? Look up top!

  • Baimeni Eye & Face Serum with Hyaluronic Acid (Full size RRP $25; this is worth $2.50) – I got this in my July Bellabox and actually really enjoyed it! I would never have discovered this Aussie brand, but it’s a lovely lightweight hydrating serum that’s super rich in hyaluronic acid and a bunch of other lovely stuff. I’m delighted to have another little sample of it.
  • Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick (Shade is Mocha; this is full size and RRP $27) – This is the bag-maker for me. I’m always up for lipstick, and I’ve never tried the much raved about Ofra formula. As a liquid lipstick aficionado, this simply could not stand. It’s nice – the colour is a little standard for me, but it’s very pretty, and very moussey and comfortable. Not a classic liquid matte – much thicker, sort of halfway between that and, say, a NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream. Here’s a lip swatch!

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    Mocha is a really pretty mauvey pink – it’s a little dustier in person than this swatch is showing. Look. You don’t come here for the swatch quality.
  • Gosh Mineral Colour Pigments (RRP $14 – mine is the shade Pink Melon) – I’m not usually a loose pigment person, but the packaging on this is actually super neat. There’s a sifter, but it’s got it’s own little flip cap, so you can have the lid off but the cap on the sifter. That doesn’t make much sense, but trust me, it’s cool. The colour is lovely, but not one I wear very often – a pastel version of watermelon pink with gold reflects.
  • Manna Kadar Radiance Split Pan Bronzer & Highlighter Duo (Full size; RRP $28) – Okay: that is an ABSURD price for such a tiny bronzer/highlight duo, and Manna Kadar should really make bigger pans. Both Manna Kadar highlighter/bronzer type products I’ve received (both in these bags) have been WAY too pigmented and dark to effectively use on my skin, so I hypothesized about their design in position with regards to  darker skin tones, but judging by Manna Kadar’s selection of foundation shades, that was purely accidental. On me, these will make lovely, soft eyeshadows. I could use the lighter shade as a highlight, but I do have roughly ten different highlights that approximate shade. I feel like they wouldn’t diffuse very well – a little too chunky.

    Swatches of colour cosmetics and proof that I need a camera:

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    Top to bottom: Ofra Mocha, Gosh Pink Melon, Manna Kadar Radiance Bronze, Manna Kadar Radiance Highlight
  • Uriage Tolderm Hydra-Soothing Cream (Full size 50mL for $39.99 – this is not worth much) – This is very similar to the Avene cream that came in my Bellabox the other day, in that’s a teeny little sample of some weird french thermal water brand in a tube you can’t reseal. I’ll use it, but it arrived kind of damaged, which is…a bit of a bummer, and feels like a throw it in.

 

It’s a box that started great! And I still really enjoyed it. I’m really happy with the liquid lipstick and the serum, and neither of the eyeshadow adjacent product will get a good run. Let’s not talk about the face cream, that I’ll use and it’ll be nice. 4/5

 

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August Bellabox 2016: Unboxing/Review

I am in hospital! It is shit, but at least finally my whopping eight day migraine has settled to the point where I can sort of compose sentences and look at lights and slowly type messages. My Bellabox came in the mail and my sister brought it in, so let’s have an extremely low quality look through this month’s goodies.

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Being in hospital has the pleasant side effect of making ordinarily boring things much more desirable, so there’s a few things here that made me happier than they usually would.

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Em Cosmetics The Great Cover Up Concealer (Full size 9mL $17.00USD; we got a choice of shades if we responded to an email so I believe I got the light neutral option) – Makeup is always my favourite thing to receive, and I’m always on the hunt for good concealers. Em Cosmetics is a bizarre brand to me in the same way I am fascinated by Michelle Pham and her whole deal. On first impression, I actually really like this concealer on first play – haven’t tried it on my face, obviously, due to being in hospital and all – it’s creamy and blends nicely but doesn’t seem to overly sink into the lines on my hand. Will  definitely give this a go. You also get $10 off when you buy Em cosmetics in the Bellabox store, which is nice.

Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream and Cleansing Lotion (full sizes are 50mL for $58.95, whoa nelly – these are worth about $6? And they aren’t resealable?) – these two little guys are undeniably  very boring, but Avene is lovely for sensitive skin and my skin turns to crap the moment I get sick. I was using a little Origins travel size cleanser that’s been drying my skin, so these are welcome.

Nivea Creme Fairytales Edition (Full size 150mL RRP $7.88) – I remember little tins of this stuff appearing as freebies throughout my life as a young’un. I don’t think I’ve ever bought it. It’s a very boring, traditional, simple, rich cream, and I am so grateful for it right now because my arms are so dry that they’re flaking all over the place.

Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo (RRP $13.95) – while I’m glad to see Lush sticking their beaks into the subscription box game, I’m kind of disappointed that this was the outcome for me knowing the products other people got. One of my absolute favourite Youtubers got a lime green eyeliner so dry shampoo lacks pizazz for me, but I’m sure most people would feel the opposite way. I’ve tried this product before – I find the method of dispensing to be a pain in the ass and far too concentrated in one area, or if you dispense into your hands first it’s just a downright mess. It’s not the most effective dry shampoo or the most volumising, but it does smell nice, so it’s okay for a pick me up when you don’t need anything heavy duty.

Alpha Keri Bust Lift and Firm Cream and Heat Activated Body Slimming and Firming Serum (AKA the free bonus bullshit item) – I’m not as angry at this as I was at the ridiculous tea from a couple of months back, especially because this isn’t assigned any value, but I think we can all agree that this stuff is bullshit, right? Get fucked, Alpha Keri, and take your $10 voucher with you. I’m sure you’ve got other good products, but I have trouble abiding by this level of pseudo-science prey-on-internalised-misogyny rubbish.

Overall, I’d give this box a 2.5/5. Solidly functional, occasional spots of interest, and one kind of bullshit bonus item that I’ve come to expect.

 

 

 

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.

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.