Bite Sized Five – Trying Things and Thinking Thoughts

I have five semi coherent thoughts about five new, new-to-me or just recently rotated products I’ve been wanting to talk about. No need to dither about, let’s dive right in.

Buxom Lash Mascara – I acquired this mascara as a part of a Sephora in JCP Favourites set as a part of my ridiculous USA haul. I didn’t open it straight away – I’ve never used anything from Buxom before, and it’s never really appealed to me. This mascara has a boring name and no extraordinary claims, but I kind of adore it? It’s a much larger plastic wand than I normally use (my other current mascara is the Makeup Forever Excessive Lash, which has a a really short brush) but I find it really grips my lashes and gives me the separation I want. I’m lucky in having quite long lashes, so I tend to go for volume and a fluttery look, and I get a really good level of drama with this mascara. Not much length, so I’d caution against it if that is your bag, but it works perfectly for me. I don’t know where I’d rebuy it in Australia, though.

Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector – I was really happy when Sephora Australia added this as a point perk, because I’ve heard so much about it. My skin isn’t the oiliest, but this is touted as the be all and end all of oil control primers, so I’ve wanted to try it for nights out and long shifts. It’s a really good sized tube and you don’t need much, so it will last a long time (which is good, because a full size costs $55AUD). Everyone talks about the learning curve, and it’s harsh: you cannot rub it in. It needs to be pressed in. If you apply it wrong, your makeup will ball up or apply streaky; it’s no joke. Once you’ve worked out how to use it, it’s pretty great stuff. It’s not the primer to end all primers for my skin – I know some people swear by this – but it’s better at holding makeup on my face than, say, the Hourglass Mineral Veil, though it lacks the smoothing properties of the Hourglass primer. I enjoy this on intended occasions, but it’s not something I reach for on my days off or in my daily rotation. Perhaps in the summertime it might be more applicable.

Tarte Brighter Days Highlighting Moisturiser – We got this as a point perk before it launched at Australian Sephora, which was a rare event, so I picked it up on reflex with some of those points I’ve  accumulated. It was a ridiculous move on my part – I have pretty textured skin, and usually loathe products with glitter or shimmer particles through them. This fails for me both as a highlighting and as a moisturising product – instead, my face just feels a little gross and looks sparkly, which I hate. Why on earth am I still tempted by the new Australis Serum Primer? You tell me. A bit of a miss for me – Tarte’s whole “athleisure” collection is a bit confusing and gimmicky-seeming to me, really.

Sephora Collection Honey Lip Scrub – Look, it’s something I love! I’ve tried so many lip scrubs. I’m down to just the Lush couple in my collection, and I am far too lazy/not quite thrifty enough to ever make my own. I have always hated digging my fingers into a little pot, even the nice ones, so I appreciate the stick form of this. The Body Shop also has a stick scrub, but it’s double the price (the Sephora one is $9 in Australia). That said, this is an incredibly gentle scrub, and very soft. I’ll finish it pretty quickly, I can already tell. Half of the time I apply it and it’s hard to tell whether I’ve applied a scrub or just an ordinary balm. I’ve been using it before I go to bed, and then using a Lush one for a bit more intensity before I apply lipstick in the morning, and the combo is working pretty well for me.

Australis Jelly Bean Silicone Blending Sponge – I was never going to pay to order a silicone pad from the internet for my makeup when I so rarely use a beautyblender to apply my makeup as is. At the height of silisponge internet obsession, I was rolling my eyes every five minutes. I do hate getting foundation all over my fingers and then on my black work clothes in the morning, so that aspect of slapping makeup on with this and then blending out with something else really appealed. I’m glad Australis were the first cheap Aussie knockoff of the concept and I do actually really enjoy it for that and how easy it is to clean, but I also wonder why it has been so quickly pulled from their website and from the Priceline website. That makes me a bit nervous. I think you can still find it in some stores, and I know Sportsgirl also sell a two pack of them but I also can’t find that online. Weird stuff. Look – it’s not a revolutionary tool like all of the videos were attempting to prove or disprove when they first launched. The only reason it might be necessary is if you don’t like getting foundation on your fingers, and you’re happy to blend out with a sponge or a brush. And for that? It’s a good tool.

 

Bite Sized Five: Basics and Bases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s that!

Bite Sized Five – Things I bought abroad

Obviously, I bought a lot of things in the USA. I did elaborate on some of my thoughts on the products in that gargantuan post, but I’ve been using some of the products for longer and with greater frequency, and a lot of thoughts have really had a chance to form about some things. A couple of the products here have been in my daily rotation, and others are super buzz-worthy at the moment, so it felt like as good a time as any to bring back the Bite Sized Five.

Milk Makeup Tattoo Stamp (Star) – This feels like such an obvious novelty product that it must exist already (and a quick google tells me AliExpress has them in spades), but for someone who likes to do graphic liner and has arthritis induced unsteady wrists, I appreciate the ease of eyeliner stamps. I’ve expressed my feelings on Milk’s gimmicky deal and Cool Girl aspirations before, but I’ve drawn stars with liquid liner before, and it’s downright irritating. As to the formula of this, it’s great as a stamp, but I would hate it as a felt tip because it’s hell to remove. Getting this off takes bioderma, an oil and some more bioderma. It stains blue. It’s great for specific looks and special occasions, but wow.

Sunday Riley Good Genes – While I was in America, my skin was utter trash. I’m putting it down to travel and disruption to my usual routine, mostly. That said, my skin is now the literal best it has ever been. I have about one pimple going on and this has never happened. Is it the return to routine? Back to the BHA exfoliation? Probably. I’ve also started using Good Genes every night. That, and cleansing with a Foreo. The only actual changes. I don’t know whether this Sunday Riley product has anything to do with how fantastic my skin looks and feels right now, but I’m too hooked on my skin looking good to change anything. Feeling it. It doesn’t smell great, but it feels nice and it’s gentle and it doesn’t break me out.

Mac Extra Dimension Skin Finish in Soft Frost – I love highlights that aren’t super glittery and have something a little different about them, and Soft Frost fits the bill pretty perfectly. It is ridiculously expensive – though fairly priced against the US, unlike a lot of MAC products – but it is giant, and it has that really lovely pink/blue shiftiness. I appreciate the lack of large physical glitters because when you have a shift like that, I don’t think you need all that extra highlighting of skin texture or flashiness. I also like that I can layer this over a cream product (which I’ll mention below) or even just build it vs. diffused application with my Smashbox fan brush to really decide how dramatic I want it to be. This was a splurge purchase, but it’s not one I regret.

Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter – I don’t like cream cheek products. I knew this was a gimmick – that’s Milk’s whole thing. I know that “holographic” is a buzzword and I resent it and I hate that this was sold out everywhere and I had to snatch this up as the last thing on a display. I hate that it’s a product that works best over bare skin. And yet – on a bare skin day, slicking this on and looking vaguely alien? It’s all base, little shift, but it’s so very cool. I hate it, but I love it. Hard to get precision, and of course it will shift around anything you use beneath it, and it blends away to nothing if you properly blend at it, but when you just swipe it on and pat it with your fingers? Such a strong look. Dust some Soft Frost over the top and you too can be a fairy goddess.

Foreo Luna Play – Now it is absolutely not necessary to spend buckets of money on a device with which to wash your face. I am terrified of the Clarisonic, which looks genuinely painful to me (she of delicate, sensitive skin and easily broken capillaries), but I was intrigued by the Foreo and its more-than-passing-similarity to a vibrator. Indeed, it feels really nice to cleanse with, but it won’t foam anything up – it’s more like a soft exfoliation, which is great when manual exfoliation is too much for you a lot of the time. This one doesn’t recharge, which is irritating, because the size is super convenient and I appreciate how sanitary it is (a major turnoff with the Clarisonic, for me), so I doubt I’ll be rushing to repurchase it. That said, my skin is – as I mentioned – looking and feeling fantastic right now. I’d be hugely shocked if this happened to have anything to do with it, but if it did, it’s an investment I’d be willing to make. I cannot believe I’m washing my face with what is essentially a vibrator.

That’s five of them, but I’ll continue using stuff and talking about it. I’ve definitely got some feelings on some products I’ve been reaching for.

 

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

 

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

 

Recent Lipstick Wrap-Up

With the amount of lipsticks I acquire, pass on, etc, writing individual reviews on them seemed like a bit of an overwhelming concept. Rather than going back and talking about these lipsticks one by one, I thought I’d pull them all and compile a post where I go into the details of each of the new lip products I’ve added to my collection over the last month. I am excluding products received in subscriptions, because both the bullshit jelly lipstick and the not-my-colour Face of Australia lipstick have passed in and out of my collection in record time.

Most of the lipsticks I’ve picked up recently have been new releases to the Australian market (Mac, Urban Decay, Makeup Forever). One was a replacement (the Body Shop lip liner). The other three were 3am purchases while on endone in hospital (Pretty Zombie Cosmetics). Were those good decisions? How do they look? How do they fare on the lips? Those details and more and things I feel confident sharing now I’ve given them all a good go.

I’ve been on a bit of a traditional bullet lipstick kick. It has a lot to do with those being a lot of new launches, but also the ease of reapplication. I still reach for liquid lipsticks constantly, but bullets have been catching my interest. Swatches of those bullets:

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From left to right, Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks in Conspiracy and Psycho, Mac Lipsticks in Bowl Me Over and Midnight Troll, Makeup Forever Artist Rouge Lipstick in M401

And the liner/liquids –

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L-r: The Body Shop Lip Definer in Hot Date, Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks in Transylvania, Jupiter and Broomstick

I’ve included my classic low quality lip swatches, and I’ll talk about each lipstick one by one. I’ve got plenty to say about most of them.

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Urban Decay Conspiracy is a described as a “plum bronze shimmer with a metallized finish” and I’d argue that not much of that plumminess comes through on the lips. The shimmer is a warmer copper but the brown beneath reads as neutral to me. I will say that it does swatch with the promised plum, but I’m glad I gave it a shot based on the Temptalia swatches – it’s gorgeous and brown on. As a metallized finish, I was glad that it didn’t feel gritty – the shimmer is smooth – but it’s not going to wear as long as a matte, and has an inherent slip to it. As such, it’s not one I find myself reaching for that often. It’s more of a statement lipstick with specific looks. It conveys a very specific aesthetic. Love, like, loathe? At the moment, I’d say I like this lipstick. It’s ok.

Urban Decay Psycho, my least favourite term for people with mental health problems or who act in any way that someone doesn’t approve of, is nonetheless a gorgeous lipstick and is described as a “bright rose with iridescent blue micro sparkle in a comfort matte formula“. I’d say it was closer to a magenta than a rose – surely there’s too much red to call this rose, but what do I know? The blue sparkle is surprisingly prominent, which was what made this lipstick stand out to me amongst the overwhelming launch. It has a good level of dimension on the lips, but from this distance has that same matte appearance that I enjoy, and it’s a cool balance. The comfort matte formula is nice and the wear time is decent. It doesn’t wear as well as some of the other lipsticks here (Bowl Me Over, M401), but it’s impressive for something with sparkle. My main issue is a little bit of grittiness on application, but it wasn’t perceptible on the lips. Love, like, loathe? Another one I’m not head over heels for. It’s a lipstick I like, and wear for the colour sometimes, but I don’t love it.

Mac Bowl Me Over is from the recent (ridiculous) It’s a Strike! collection, and is called a “deep burnt brown with a retro matte finish“. On other people I’ve seen, this reads red, but I’m true to the description and all about the brown with that little rusty redness beneath. It’s a retro matte, but it feels nicely creamy and still has the lasting power – it isn’t like a Ruby Woo retro matte that drags on the lips and feels like it’s going to crumble. As a retro matte, it will highlight any flakiness on the lips (and any staining – I some other lipstick staining going on), so make sure your lips are prepped. As ridiculous as the collection was – a bowling collaboration? really? – I’m pretty happy with this colour, and i completely understand why I felt so drawn to it. I have been wearing it a lot. It’s a happy medium between neutral and a little bit interesting. Sadly, it’s limited edition, but the colour feels dupeable if not in the same formula. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay $4 extra for fancy ridiculous bowling inspired packaging. Love, like, loathe? Love. I flat out love this lipstick. I hate myself for buying into the limited edition Mac hype machine, and this ridiculous collection, but this lipstick is amazing.

Mac Midnight Troll, a “rich blue in a matte finish“, comes in some of the tackiest packaging that has ever affronted my eyeballs and yet speaks directly to my soul. It appeals to some people’s nostalgia (I was never that big on troll dolls), but what really catches me is the fact that this is a rich blue lipstick in a neon orange tube. Do I hate the rubberized finish, a magnet for markings and dust? Absolutely. Did I begrudgingly hand over the full price? Of course. I had been ignoring Mac’s permanent navy offering, Matte Royal, on the grounds of its sub par formula and too-purple undertones, so this filled that gap of being exactly as blue as I wanted it to be. I, in spite of myself and full of grumblings at the cost, love the Mac matte formula, and this has decent wear time, opacity, and feels super comfortable on the lips, which are things that you don’t often see in the blue lipstick market – often it’s a trade off on some fronts. Some days I don’t feel like the full on, high maintenance avenue of a liquid lipstick, you know? I took this out of the packaging one night when I was chatting to two beautiful makeup artists and a silence fell. It’s stunning. Love, like, loathe? I’d say I really really like this. It’s borderline love. Not quite full-blown.

Makeup Forever Artist Rouge Lipstick in M401 is described on Temptalia as a “medium-dark red with neutral-to-cool undertones and a semi-matte finish” and while I agree with most of that, this is about as matte as as a bullet lipstick gets without feeling like Ruby Woo on the lips (aka crumbling and dry and making you want to cry). Mine is the Icona Pop edition, but I really just grabbed it because I was considering Urban Decay’s 714 as a matte red, and I wanted to try a different formula of bullet lipsticks because the Urban Decay ones had been all like and no love for me. I’m really glad I went for this one. It’s a pretty typical red, no two ways about it. Neutral cool is accurate, but I’d say medium-bright – it’s a very pin-up red. It’s very matte, wears well, and I love the pointed bullet because it makes application super easy. I would definitely consider getting more lipsticks in this formula, despite previously having no interest. Love, like, loathe? I really actually love this lipstick.

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The Body Shop Lip Definer in Hot Date is a pretty standard lip liner colour – a deep berry pink with red tones (much more pinky red than the lipstick of the same name from The Body Shop) – but it’s the formula that’s appealing. I’ve tried a hell of a lot of lipsticks, but I love how pigmented most of these are, and how creamy they are without being the kind that break easily or get used up really quickly. They’re comfortable enough to wear alone, but have enough light waxiness to really grip the lips and stay in place. I haven’t quite finished my first pencil in this colour, but it’s a tiny little stub that I keep in my locker at work. I will say that the quality is not consistent from colour to colour, but the only ones that have let me down are the very light nude (Golden Syrup) and, for some reason, the pink (but it looks great on everyone else???). The rest are gorgeous and I wear them all the time, on days off and work days alike. Beech is another particular favourite because it’s the perfect slightly grey neutral, and Coral Blush is the perfect red toned coral. Love, like, loathe? I hate when I sound like an advert, but these are a body shop product that will definitely remain a staple no matter where I work because I love them, especially at the price they are – $15.95 is really great.

Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in Transylvania is described as “dark purple” but, much to my delight, it’s got plenty of blue to it. I know a lot of people in the indie community are not cool with PZC thanks to their cribbing off of My Pretty Zombie’s name in order to tap into the popularity. In the hierarchy of brand sins, it’s not great, but I’d rather they had my money over someone like Jeffree Star. Everyone is problematic. The formula is one I have reviewed in the past on my old blog and it is one of my absolute favourite liquid lipstick formulas. It isn’t smudge proof, but it is hugely long wearing and incredibly comfortable and non-drying. Most of them (with the exception of one) are truly opaque. Everything about the formula rings true here. With such a dark colour, some work is required to keep it neat, but it’s beautiful. Love, like, loathe? Love it so, so much.

Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in Jupiter is a “dark teal-green” and it’s beautiful. That’s basically all I have to say. The formula is consistent. It was the first colour that called out to my endone-addled brain. I adore it. Love, like, loathe? Love with my whole heart.

Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in Broomstick is the “dark brown”, and the only one of the three that I was slightly underwhelmed by. That’s purely because of how dark this dark brown is – it’s difficult to tell this is even a brown, because it borders so heavily on black. I was kind of hoping for something truer to the website swatch. That said, it’s still a nice colour and really good for when I don’t want the full intensity of a black – it’s softer. The formula is again consistent with the others. Love, like, loathe? I like this one, and I like it a lot, but I don’t love it like the others.

Recent lipsticks, wrapped up and reviewed. This should probably recur, but I am planning on going slow this month. November/December I will be in the US, and it is likely to be a bit of a wild time for shopping and caving to rampant consumerism.. Send strength.

Posts like these do make me consider my role in consumer culture, but lipsticks are a thing that make me happy, and I buy them for myself. I wear them and enjoy them, and they are almost always very well thought out purchases. Bar those last three. It’s still important to call into play the role that society’s demands on women play in shaping my identity, and shaping that idea that I wear makeup “for myself” – I want to feel good, and I feel good in lipstick, but what are the reasons for that? It’s more complex than a simple “because it looks nice”. It’s a bunch of reinforcement and culture immersion and messages in media and patriarchal pressures. Beauty can be seen as a trivial thing, but it sits at the intersection of a lot of issues of race (regarding trends, colours, marketing), gender (to ridiculous extents) and sexuality (don’t even get me started on the heterosexuality of makeup). I just think it’s important to be mindful.

 

 

Bite-Sized Five: Mini-Reviews of New-to-Me Products + Purchases

I’ve been meaning to post some more regular content (this blog needs at least 70% more lipstick), so I’ve decided to introduce a new little feature. Time will tell whether or not this becomes regular or not. Basically, the idea: I encounter a lot of new releases, and just in general acquire a lot of new products. Some are new-new, and some are just new to me. Eventually they will surface, whether in empties or favourites posts, but by that point, they’re old news. Let’s talk about them while they’re fresh to me – while I’ve had some time to develop thoughts, but while I’m still excited and wanted to share. These opinions may not yet be fully formed – I will happily update later, or when I use them up – but there’s meat to them.

I’m going to avoid lip products in these posts, because I like to be very – very – thorough with my lip product reviews. I’m really keen to talk about Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche lipstick in Kale – that’s coming soon.

Benefit Gimme Brow in Deep (Deluxe sample – NEW – Launches in Australia on the 22nd of July) – I’ve never tried the original Gimme Brow, but I was happy to try out the deluxe sample of this when it was offered to Black Card holders at Sephora Australia.  I’m generally pretty low maintenance when it comes to brows – mine are notoriously full and angry – but I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying this. I feel like this sample will last me for a decent chunk of time, and it’s really easy to toss on in a rush. I just brush it through my tails and define my arch a little and I’m good to go. I like the precision of a pencil, but this is a good easy alternative, and it’s definitely something I’d recommend to people recovering from bad bouts trichotillomnia (compulsive hair pickers like myself) or who are balding on the brows from meds (also me) – it won’t give you brows where there are none, but it will do great with thinned out, balder patches.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (Deluxe sample) – I received this in my June Lust Have It bag, and it saved the bag for me. Thankfully, I ended up really enjoying it, and have since ordered the full size. I don’t know whether it will become a regular thing, but I want to see how the full bottle goes. I have felt like there’s been a noticeable improvement in the stubborn closed comodones on my forehead. My skin feels nice and smooth, and I’m not reacting to it (I don’t use it on days when I use a mask or physical exfoliant). It’s a generous deluxe sample size, and I appreciate that you can order this size from the website – though it is prone to leakage. I’m not a part of the Cult of Paula’s Choice, but I’m also not against using good stuff.

The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Cream – This product isn’t new to me (I work at the body shop) but I’ve managed to resist on buying it since it’s launch. I thought I much preferred the Japanese Camellia Cream, and while I like the light texture or that one, for winter this one is so much more luxurious and warms up nicer on the skin so I don’t have to go to bed cold. It’s super moisturising and the smell is heavenly and lingers on the skin for a good twenty/thirty minutes, which I love when the weather is cold. I also find I can use it on my chest and arms, where I’m the most sensitive, which is a welcome change from a lot of the body butters and lotions I have to steer clear of. It’s expensive as hell, but damn, it’s good shit.

Sephora Collection Skincare Booster – Luminizer – I know all about the purported benefits of Vitamin C for the skin, but while this one promises to be a kind of concentrate, it’s not particularly concentrated. That said, I’d trade that for being able to use it on my skin – a lot of other Vitamin C things I’ve used that are more active are hell on my skin (though I do remember enjoying the Paula’s Choice Vitamin C 25% spot treatment – not $70 enjoy). I don’t know if this is doing anything, really. I doubt it is. I’ll use it for the suggested 14 days per season, because it smells like orange sherbet and it feels lovely and light on the skin, and my skin looks lovely right now. I doubt it has to do with this product, and more to do with the other product combinations, but I’m happy to keep this up. Not something I’ll be rebuying, though, unless sudden dramatic changes occur.

Smashbox Fan Brush no.22 – Thought I’d try out a fan brush! I’m coming down from the ultra intense highlight train, liking it a little more diffused, and fan brushes should give that effect more easily than my alternative Real Techniques setting brush (which I actually love for more intense highlight). So far I’ve only played with this and very buttery powders like the Becca and Balm powders, but I’m looking forward to more experimentation. It is lovely and soft, not too dense, a little more frayed than I was anticipating.

Five things, five mostly positive thoughts. That’s not always the way, but I’m glad that’s how it’s gone this week.