Literal Months of Junk – Beauty/Skincare Empties

Please, no judgement.

It’s been a while.

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The Body Shop Shower Gels in Vanilla Chai, Virgin Mojito and Olive – I love and am completely spoiled by Body Shop shower gels. Virgin Mojito is my favourite of all time, Olive is my favourite from the main range that has been discontinued, and Vanilla Chai is lovely for a Christmas smell. I have some of the spa ones going at the moment, which I love, but I’ve still got some of these stored away. Repurchase? If I can get any of these at any point, they’re all Hall of Famers for me. Throw in some Vineyard/Fuzzy Peach and Passionfruit and you have my immediate pickups. I will be picking up a few extra bottles of Olive now that they are clearing the remaining stock in the April Clearance, and if any stores have Virgin Mojito, I might have to check in.

The Body Shop Calming Aloe Cleanser – Read any other post about my empties. I have nothing new to say about this. I’m horrendously bored of it, but nothing else works for me. Repurchase? Always

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil – This is a good cleansing oil, but I am always looking for something new. Something that’s even more effective at getting off waterproof makeup. Repurchase? I’m on the balm version now, which is less messy, and I do think I prefer it.

Becca Pressed Highlighter in Opal – This shattered while I was travelling and I had to repress it with my fingers and use what I could. It wasn’t ideal. It’s a nice highlight, but I wasn’t as wowed by it as I wanted to be, for such a hyped product. It really emphasises texture and I found it hard to have much control over it. Repurchase? No, but I won’t turn down minis that come in sets. I’ll cop to being tempted by the Lilac Geode shade, which had a golden lilac tone to it. Gorgeous.

Tigerlily Coconut & Lime Soap – This was a gift, and it was a soap that lasted ages and smelled nice. Purchase? I don’t really buy bar soap of my own accord – I keep plain, gentle bars of soap on hand for basic washing, but fancy stuff is not really a thing I go for.

Buxom Lash Mascara – I flat out loved this mascara, which I’ve written about before. I cannot find anywhere that sells it in Sydney, and I wouldn’t pay that much for something as generic as mascara, but this was a nice one. Repurchase? If I ever desperately needed mascara and could find this for an affordable price, I might.

The Body Shop Gel Pen Liner – I liked the colour of this liner and the ease of not having to sharpen it, but I finished it up really quickly. I have another of the same colour in a normal pencil format. Repurchase? It’s discontinued and so is on sale at the moment, but it’s not my thing anyway.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – This session I finished up both a full size and a mini, both that had been going for quite some time. I wear winged liner most days of my working life, and the small size is great for a makeup bag or for travel. I’ve written about this countless times, but I am yet to find a liner that compares, and I have tried. Repurchase? I still have a few unopened ones, because I get nervous if I don’t have a backup ready to go.

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Lush Oaty Creamy Dreamy Shower Cream – I thought “maybe this will be the Lush shower product that doesn’t break me out in an itchy rash or make my skin burn!” but good thing I tried it out as a sample, because the itching was something fierce. I want to love you again Lush, but you make it hard. I did actually really enjoy their jelly face masks, which I’ll have empties of next time. Purchase? No

Another Kat Von D Tattoo liner, this time a mini.

It Cosmetics Hello Lashes Mascara – How did I finish this much mascara? I liked this one a surprising amount. It was quite natural, but it gave curl and definition, which are probably my two biggest factors. It was also especially lovely on the bottom lash, and I would layer it there if I was feeling especially luxuriant. Purchase? I would use this again if I ever acquired it, but I probably would not buy it.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara – Man, Tarte have had a shitshow of a few months, and deservingly so. Racist memes and a bullshit shade range for two product launches? It’s the response that matters most, and their’s was not good. This was a mascara I’ve written about before, last time I had a sample, and I had the same problems with it this time. It looks beautiful on initial application, but it is flaky as all hell. So far, three tubes of Tarte mascaras, three terrible flaking problems. Purchase? Thumbs down, Tarte.

Banila Co. Water Radiance CC Cream and Dear Hydration Boosting Cream – Ambivalent to the CC cream (as I tend to be towards CC creams, no matter how enchanted by minimalism I become), fell in love with the moisturiser. The texture of this cream was my perfect blend of lightness and heft, water based but still with a definite creaminess to it, and it didn’t leave me feeling parched or oily. Purchase? If I came across this for a reasonable price when needing moisturiser, sure.

It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VE Effector – I’m in love with so many of the emulsions from this range? They gave me about ten sample sachets of this and I won’t include all of them, but I really enjoy the texture of the VE one which is apparently for smoothing. My favourite is definitely the LI one, for sensitive skin, but this is nice to sub in occasionally. Purchase? Maybe once I run out of one of the ones in my current circulation.

The Body Shop Roots of Strength Cream and Serum – I really enjoy the formulation of this range and the textures of it, but it’s very clearly not for my skin type. It’s anti aging stuff made for very dry skin, and it’s also got a very strong ginger/ginseng smell that didn’t irritate my skin but did worry me a little. I do feel confident in talking about it, unlike some other ranges, because it has a sturdy formula to fall back on and some genuinely good ingredients in it, but it’s just not the range for me. Purchase? Not for myself

Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer – Like smearing glitter all over my face. Purchase? No

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream – This was another cream with a really lovely texture, but I felt like it disappeared into nothing on my skin and I needed to use another moisturiser or a thick oil alongside it. Purchase? Um, this costs like $75. No thanks.

That’s all for now! I guess I’ll see you in about three months when I stop caving under procrastination and want to scream. In the meantime, check out my other more active blog, Sara Watches Stuff, or follow me on Twitter @sarawatchestuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewing Rubbish: November and December 2017 empties

Sometimes I consider why I still bother collating my beauty junk into posts. It elevates my predisposition to hoarding, especially when I’m lazy and don’t get to writing a post about it until far too late.

The fact remains that I love to read about what other people are finishing and what they genuinely think of them. I’m all about creating content for myself, so I still think there’s a value to these posts, even if they are well and truly past their moment in the spotlight. I’m going to make a more concerted effort to not talk at length about products I’ve already spoken about (I didn’t bother saving my empty packet of Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes, for example). Let’s keep it snappy.

Stay tuned for “How many shower gels can one person finish the remnants of in two months?”

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Mecca Come Clean Body Wash – Nice fresh scent, good lather, made my skin feel kind of slick and squeaky clean in the way that any standard shower gel or soap will. Purchase? No

Lush Yuzu and Cocoa Shower Cream – Smells phenomenal and should, by all rights, be moisturising. Instead, every shower cream I’ve tried from Lush makes me downright dry and itchy and occasionally rashy. Even their straight up shower gels are less irritating to my skin than the creams. Repurchase? No

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water – The original and the best. I bought this in October 2016 and can safely say a big bottle gets me through a year of regular use. I wish that the cap did’t break off so easily, because at the very bottom it started to go bad. The only micellar I’ve tried that gets makeup off but doesn’t hurt my eyes or damage my skin. Repurchase? Have done so for the 500mL and will refill the baby bottle for travel.

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum – I’d heard amazing things about this serum, but even with consistent use, I was underwhelmed. Repurchase? No

Oh look, a bunch of Body Shop products I’ve accumulated.

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The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng + Rice Mask – My favourite face mask in the world. Cleansing without being drying, gives my skin an instant boost of glow, exfoliating without being irritating or over the top. I hate 80% of the masks in this range, but this one is top notch. Repurchase? Already done.

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter – I’ve finished another giant tub of moisturiser! It’s been months. I’m really lazy with moisturising, but shea is a safe option when my skin is freaking out. It’s too thick for me to use in summer, but I get seasonal dermatitis, so it is my winter elixir. Repurchase? I’ve got more body butter than I could ever finish. I just cracked open a long discontinued Cocoa Butter and it smells like heaven.

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in 024 Hawaiian Macadamia – One of my go to foundations. I use it nearly every day for work, even now we have a higher coverage option. It’s not the longest wearing foundation I own, but it’s got a beautiful natural finish. I’ve got very little colour right now, so I’ve replaced it with 020 Bali Vanilla. Repurchase? Yes

The Body Shop Virgin Mojito Shower Gel – The best shower gel The Body Shop has ever done, in my eyes. These don’t dry me out and somehow I am yet to get sick of the smell. Every time I find some, I pick up more. Repurchase? For as long as I can find it in sale sections, I will keep picking it up.

The Body Shop Pinita Colada Shower Gel – I don’t love this as much as Virgin Mojito (although I seem to be in the minority), but it is still great. It’s a bit thicker and I need to water it down a little. Repurchase? I have enough for now, but if it comes out again, absolutely.

The Body Shop Vanilla Chai Shower Gel – My favourite Christmas scent. I’ve got some backups to scatter through the year. Repurchase? Yes

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The Body Shop Lip Definer in Hot Date – Good lip liner. Nice colour. I refer retractable pencils. Repurchase? I think I have a backup.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper – My favourite liquid eyeliner. Great, fine brush tip. I’ve never had one of these that doesn’t work out wonderfully for me, and I’ve been through countless. Repurchase? I already have.

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter – This is the first Josie Maran product I’ve tried that hasn’t broken me out. It was a little too thick for me to use regularly, but it was nice enough. Purchase? No

Mac In Extreme Dimension Mascara – I really liked this mascara! It gave my eyelashes nice definition, which is the main thing I go for in a mascara. Purchase? It is easier to get a hold of in Australia than my favourite Buxom mascara, but I do prefer that one.

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation – I got swept up in the luxuriousness of this foundation. It is lovely, but it isn’t great for extended wear, and it works better on days when my skin is already good. I didn’t need the full size, but I did buy it when I was able to get it on Black Friday in the states for far less than the $99 in Australia. That said, when I run out of my full size, I will not be rebuying it. Purchase? I did, but I won’t again.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation and Primer – I liked the way this foundation looked, but it was incredibly thick and I could not shake my discomfort with the smell of both the foundation and the primer. I would have to get shade matched, and I can see myself wanting this finish again, but it didn’t deliver anything I don’t get from my Lancome Teint Idole. Purchase? No

 

I’ll try to store up again until the end up February or March – I’ll be away for the end of February – so expect a lot of travel bits and pieces. I’ve also been comfort buying makeup, which is dangerous, so I’m going to keep trying to force myself to be productive and to centre content on it.

Big things, little packages: A quick review of the Huda Beauty Obsessions palettes

If I were to try to describe most of the beloved palettes in my collection, it would be hard to find a unifying trait. The closest you would get would be to tackle size, because apparently I tend to like my palettes big. From sensibly generous Anastasia palettes to downright unwieldy Kat Von D holiday palettes, I just tend to yearn for more than a more restrained quad or travel palette can give me. I want to be able to let my laziness fly free, pull colours from the same place, and to be inspired by a colour scheme that I am given. I want something that oftentimes a little baby palette can’t offer me.

Nothing had ever really given me reason to dip my toes into the well of Huda Beauty. I had no sentimental connection to Huda Kattan herself, having never really come across her content on any social media platform, and had never been one for false eyelashes. I’d managed to refrain from having my interest piqued by her liquid lipsticks, and the highlighter kits all seemed fairly run of the mill. I’ll admit to being intrigued by the new foundation, although hand swatch showed up the kind of scent that makes me shiver at the memory. When I heard that palettes were launching, I was thoroughly unmoved – that is, until the photos came.

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If you’ve ever read this blog before, you’ll know which of these colour schemes sung out to me instantaneously. It sung so loudly that we’re talking track-down-a-palette-on-launch-day. My thirst for true to pan yellow and hot pink eyeshadows is deeper than any known trench, and it was love at first sight with the Electric Obsessions palette.

I picked up the Electric Obsessions palette within the first week of its launch at Sephora Australia, right as my hair was transitioning to purple, unshaken by its $48 price tag. I did apply a 10% coupon with some of my many, many stockpiled points, but I mostly ignored the little voice in my head that was saying “$48? For a palette the size of your palm?” (That may not sound small, but it helps to know that my hands are famously small, and that I would say they are the size of the hands of an average ten year old) I was treating myself to get through retail Christmas, and if it was a good palette, it would be worth it.

It would have sucked if this had been a bad palette. Instead, there are nine vivid brights squeezed into the size of a typical quad with no wasted space, and each pan holds a decent amount of product. Some shades are shimmers, others are matte, and all of them pair logically with at least one other partner shade in the palette. It is not a conventional standalone palette, but just this and a matte mid-tone brown single is a cohesive look; if I’m feeling up to it, I don’t even bother with other shades to mute the palette. All of the colours apply smoothly and with great reflection of what they look like in the pan, even that striking yellow. There’s even a good sized mirror and a magnetic closure.

As you can see, I now own two of these little palettes. I picked up the Smokey Obsessions palette several weeks later. I was torn between it and the Warm palette, which felt very versatile within itself, but I felt like travelling with just Electric and Smokey would allow me to do most of the eyeshadow combinations I ever dream of. Basically, I’ve come to view these palettes as the perfect travel palettes. They aren’t as soft as something like an Anastasia palette, so I don’t have to worry as much about their transport, but they allow for a great amount of versatility within a very small amount of space. Between these two palettes, I have the very me brights and the purples to complement my hair along with the neutrals for everyday and metallics to transition to evening. If I don’t have to travel with the bulk of my Kat Von D Shade and Light palette, I sure as hell won’t. The quality is consistent, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another eventually end up in my collection (perhaps as something else transitions out).

I’m not about to go out and pick up the full sized Huda Beauty palettes, which don’t appeal to me at all, but I do think these are a smashing success. I wish that the beauty industry would start to adopt this trend away from conspicuousness and absurdity and garishness – I feel like these next few seasons will see a muting in the holographics and the unicorns and the things designed to be flashed. I can handle the signalling implied with a practical 3×3 palette in matte black; I know what it’s saying about me and my attitudes and my place. I’m not as comfortable with what is being signalled by brands with over the top packaging whose emphasis is on the fetishisaton of cuteness and whimsy and childishness or sexiness. I want to know where I stand.

After the Backlash: Yet another Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette review

I attached a photo to the top of this review, but let’s be honest: by now, you know what the ABH Subculture palette looks like. I’ve never owned a palette like it. The colours are autumnal and eclectic and moody, and as soon as swatches were released I felt an uncontrollable pull to it. A pastel neon (?) peach and a mustard yellow with an army green? I know a lot of people have spoken of it as lacking in cohesiveness, but it’s one of the palettes I look at and feel inspired.

If you’re reading a review of the Subculture palette at this point after release, you’ve presumably encountered the cycle of hype and backlash. In 2016, everyone had fallen deeply in love with Anastasia’s Modern Renaissance palette, including my belated love affair earlier this year. It was near perfect as a warm toned palette, unafraid of red and pink shades, and excelled at both mattes and shimmers. A good palette to that captured the zeitgeist. They had a good line of solid hits. Brow products relied on by experts and amateurs, interesting highlights, successful limited edition eyeshadow palettes…people were primed to love their products. Then came Subculture, teased for months, leaked pre-release…and the backlash was deafening. And the backlash to that backlash was even worse. And where did we land on this palette? Well, I think it’s been decided that personal opinions are not unanimous. Let’s talk about mine.

No matter how much you love a brand or their products, they are not a person. We do not need to defend their actions; we do not need to rationalise for them. When a product is critically panned but you still enjoy it, it doesn’t mean their experience is less valid. So I ended up really loving this palette, and I have no issues with the shadows being overly powdery or kicking back an excessive amount of powder. I can still acknowledge the ways in which this palette is imperfect! Certain shades don’t show up true to pan (most notoriously Edge, which does not satisfy my yearning for a mustard colour) and others need specific kinds of brush (Cube needs to be applied with a finger, lest you lose the pink iridescence completely). My pan of Roxy has a little bit of kickback, and I can understand how certain batches might be prone to kicking up even more.

Subculture is absolutely not the easiest palette in the world to use. Modern Renaissance had its drawbacks with over-pigmentation and fallout, but the colours blended well and applied with ease. Subculture sits in a different realm. And yet, of all of my many, many palettes, it is one of the few that I pick up and look at and feel interested in. I can start with a colour and move to something else and never feel uninspired, because the mix balances quirk and utility. It is not a “for everyone” palette, but it is a great one for me.

In fact, even for the subtle everyday looks, I’ve found the colours in Subculture to work nicely with my new purple hair. I like working odd shades in subtle ways, and it’s satisfying to me that this is a palette suitable for that or for high level drama.

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Here’s a close up of that specific look, an example of something I’ll throw together in a few minutes with Subculture. I think that’s important to contrast with the instagram theatrics this palette lends itself towards.

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Want to try mustard with khaki and lavender? Go for it. Peach and berry and lime? Sounds like a smoothie, but delightful on the eyes.

Because of my surprisingly positive experience, it won’t surprise anyone how tempted I’ve found myself by the more recent Prism palette. There’s been a lot of controversy over the similarities between the two palettes and their shade ranges. Here’s just one of the many, many posts comparing the two, with the general consensus being that only one is really necessary to achieve the same kind of looks. Certain shades in Prism appeal to me more – the dark metallic green, the metallic lavender, that neon yellow green – but the overall aesthetic feels more alienating to me personally than the recognizably grunge vibe of Subculture. I do wish that the definitive shades performed better (specifically Edge and Cube), and I might cave and buy Prism at some point with a voucher, but I’m one of the few people without buyer’s remorse.

All that said, I’m always trying to be conscious of my blatant consumerism and need to acquire more more more. For me, being “better” would still be a troubling quantity of makeup for most people. This is me calling myself out – this time, my purchase of a known trouble inducing palette worked out for the better, but my purchase didn’t hinge on that factor and returns are not an option here. Think your things through.

October Empties 2017

My plan was to delay the empties for another month, after the last couple of months having a light batch, but for some reason October was an explosive month of using stuff up. I was stressed and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things in my possession. Rather than face a tidal wave next month, here’s one group out of the way.

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The Body Shop Calming Aloe Cream Cleanser – As I’ve mentioned before, this is the only cleanser I know I can trust. Sometimes I use other stuff, and it’s okay for a while, or it underwhelms me in some way. This cleanser has never broken my heart. Repurchase? Of course. Have done.

The Body Shop Vanilla Pumpkin Shower Gel – I had a weird relationship with this particular shower gel. The formula is the usual Body Shop formula which doesn’t freak my skin out, so that was fine. This scent though…Vanilla Pumpkin was a little too heavy on the pumpkin and too light on the vanilla/spice for me, and it had a weird anise note that my nose could not get past. Every time I showered, I was struck by how pumpkiny and savory it smelled. I didn’t care for it, basically. But then toward the end of the bottle, I was suddenly really into it. I liked smelling kind of like a garden? It was so different to the partnering hand cream, for example. Repurchase? Not this scent, probably. I’m fickle.

Sephora Collection Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation – I bought this foundation about a year ago, mostly for the novelty. It had next to no coverage and never felt properly meshed with my skin. It was just a weird slippery layer above my face that got greasy very quickly. And then the nozzle broke, so. Repurchase? No

Sephora Collection Purifying Mattifying Mask – I have had this mask for ages and it’s never been my thing. It’s too much. It’s way too exfoliating and all it’s ever done is dry me out. Every time I’m breaking out, I think “I’ll try it again!” and still, no. Repurchase? No. I don’t think they make this one any more, either.

Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask – I like the way this mask felt, but it smelled absolutely atrocious. I am apparently really not into that raw honey smell, especially when mixed with the charcoal smell. It was a bit nauseating, honestly. And it has long, long gone off. Repurchase? No.

Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black – I wrote about this liner nearly a year ago? It started off decent in quality, but rather than drying out, become watery and streaky. Why didn’t I throw this out when it went bad? I have no idea. I didn’t even know where it was. Repurchase? No. I can’t use anything but the Kat Von D. I’m spoiled.

The Body Shop Lash Hero Mascara – Decent mascara, flakes a little under my eyes, but a good one for everyday natural-but-better lashes. Repurchase? Maybe?

Sukin Hydrating Facial Mask – I loved this mask, but it was too heavy for me to use very often. Made my skin really lovely and soft, though, and a nice change from the charcoal masks. Purchase? I got this in a subscription box, and it had expired (I finally started clearing stuff out), but I might purchase it one day.

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluid – I trust this sunscreen to go on my face and stop me from burning. It’s a new summer and it was time for this guy to get replaced, so a new bottle has been acquired. Once I find a sunscreen that doesn’t hit me with a rash, I am loyal as hell. Repurchase? Hell yes.

L’oreal Infalliable Mattifying Primer – Pretty standard silicone primer. Very good with certain foundations, very average with others. Totally and completely fine. Repurchase? No

NYX Angel Veil Primer – I loved this primer initially, but it definitely changed formula with age and got chunky. Nothing like the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer people compare it to for the inclusion of “veil”, this is thick and smoothing without feeling ultra slippery and like smearing silicone on your face. Repurchase? Only if it comes to Australia or I was in America – I enjoyed it, but not enough to pay more than $26 to get it online.

Tarte Tarteist Clay Paint Liner in Copper – This came in a cute set last Christmas, and while it was gorgeous in colour and smooth in formula, I received one with busted packaging. It was usable – the product came out of the seam rather than from the cap – but it was a pain in the neck to store. I liked it a lot, but I don’t wear this kind of colour liner often enough on my days off. Repurchase? No

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Fiery – This was my go to holiday lip when I first got it, and it’s finally reached the point of grossness and no return. It was a good introduction to lipstick, and one of the first I ever got truly into – it’s a tiny little flat stub. It smells obnoxiously like peppermint, but it was really hydrating and gave a good amount of colour while retaining sheerness. Repurchase? I am pretty sure these have been discontinued? But it would be a no, regardless. I have moved on.

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Miniso Soft Cotton Pads 180 Sheets – These are pretty excellent? They’re easier for me to get a hold of than my beloved Target Cotton Rounds, and just as soft. Repurchase? Sure

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation – Some samples of a product I have long, long, long used. I still really like this as a medium-high coverage foundation for lazy days, and it’s a good mixing medium for things that are too light in shade or too clingy, but it’s far too thick for me to feel like using it every day. Purchase? I don’t need any more of this.

Tarte Maracuja Oil – Not my favourite oil. Too greasy and it didn’t smell particularly nice. Purchase? No

Klair’s Midnight Blue Calming Cream – This one I actually liked! I used this on some nights when my skin was particularly dry and bumpy, and it felt soothing and lovely. Probably not rush-out-and-buy-it lovely, but I can imagine how nice it would feel on sunburnt skin. Purchase? Probably not

Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo Foundation and Primer – I wasn’t a fan of either of these. The foundation was the wrong colour, but the formula didn’t give me the coverage I wanted for such a thick and paint-like formula. Purchase? No

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara – Written about here. Lovely for natural, long, defined lashes but  not great for flakiness. A good layering product. Repurchase? Maybe one day, after all of my small mascaras are gone?

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturiser – I liked the smell of this cream, but it tingled a lot on my skin and I wasn’t game to try it beyond the initial patch test. I ended up using it on my chest, where it was fine. Purchase? No

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Mask – I was wary of this based on product reviews, but it ended up being okay on my forehead and nose. Okay in that it didn’t hurt me, but it also didn’t really do anything. I have too many other masks I like. Purchase? No

Burberry Luminous Fluid Base – “Luminous” bases have never been my thing. I don’t like glowing in places I haven’t been intentional with the placement of said glow on. This was a nice enough product, but like many other illuminating base products, it just wasn’t for me. Purchase? What am I, made of money?

Commodity Fragrance in Mimosa – Fresh, a hint floral, a bit crisp. A good, solid summer smell with very little longevity but a nice throw. I have a huge selection of Commodity fragrances to try, and I don’t like this as much as Rain, but those are probably my favourites thus far. Purchase? No

The Body Shop Ginseng and Rice Toner – My favourite mask now has a matching toner? I don’t splurge on toners, but this is a beautiful one if I were going to. It smells like heaven and doesn’t leave behind any residue. Purchase? Maybe, should I ever run out of toner.

The Body Shop Green Tea Cleansing Hair Scrub – Nice to get junk out of your hair, but also really stubborn hair dye and bumpy clumps of scalp. I’ve been prepping my hair to go pastel, so I’m really working to pull out all of the blue that I can. Purchase? Maybe

Lush Buck’s Fizz Skin Conditioner – I liked this the most of all the Lush skin conditioners I have tried, but I was never a huge fan of Ro’s Argan or African Paradise. It makes my skin soft but thankfully not too slippery afterwards. Purchase? No

Fenty Beauty Foundation in 120 – My first impressions of this foundation are here. In the long run, some days it looked beautiful and other days it caught on to every bit of dryness it could find. The shade was too light and it honestly wasn’t as wonderful as I had hoped. Now the highlighters and glosses, on the other hand…Purchase? No

Lipglosses I Suddenly Own (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gloss)

I have never liked lipgloss.

Even as a child in the height of lipgloss madness in the late 90s, I hated how sticky my strawberry kiwi Bonne Bell lip gloss was and how my hair would get stuck to it and would take a lip smacker over the gloss any day.

As a makeup enthusiast, I have heard the whispers for a while now. I knew that gloss was coming back, but I was pretending I couldn’t hear those whispers. I clutched my matte liquid lipsticks ever closer to my chest. Until a couple of months ago, I didn’t have a single lipgloss in my admittedly vast lip product collection.

Of course, you’ve seen the header photo for this post. I blame Rihanna. Gloss has been coming back for a long time, but something about the lipgloss that launched with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line lodged in my brain. At the same time, The Body Shop launched some glosses. Naturally, I started wearing glosses daily – Apple Taffy became my go-to, thanks to my retail job – and then glosses were my wholly my thing.

And so the quest for the perfect gloss began. Let’s follow it, in chronological order.

The Body Shop Shine Lip Liquid in Apple Taffy and Cherry Gum – These are cheap, and they look lovely – Apple Taffy in particular – but they don’t wear long enough to be the perfect gloss (though they’re better than some). Still, they leave colour deposited well and they give a great level of shine, and they’re very comfortable. I don’t worry so much about stickiness, because my hair is almost always up when I’m working.  The applicator is the best thing about these? More glosses with this applicator. Apple Taffy is a very nude neutral, but not ultra opaque, and Cherry Gum is a bright pinky red.

Winky Lux Glossy Boss in Truffle – Truffle is a deep nude colour, and colour wise it is perfect. It is also one of the highest shine glosses I’ve tried, which was what I was looking for initially – that editorial, high shine nude, and this won out of all the ones at Mecca Maxima. The problem with this gloss is that it is wicked sticky. I don’t mind a little sticky, but aside from the Too Faced Melted Latex, I have never put a stickier product to my lips.

NYX Lip Lustre Glossy Lip Tint in Ruby Couture – This isn’t super glossy, but I like the marriage of a little gloss with a lot of colour and a decent tint on the lips. I was satisfied by how nicely this sat on my lips. This will probably be my low effort lip colour this summer, because it’s a basic red with an easy finish.

Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in Flesh Riot – I went to swatch and probably buy the Fenty gloss, having finally decided that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and of course it was sold out at all of the Sydney Sephora stores. The closest thing, it seemed, was this gloss by Smith & Cult, though it has a bit more pigment to it – it’s a nude gloss with a beautiful gold shimmer right through it. This one is beautiful on the lips, and perfect in consistency – not sticky, very shiny – but doesn’t wear very long.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen, Orchid and Vamp – I actually acquired one of these before any of the other glosses – Orchid was free at a Sephora opening a while back, but I was so grossed out by glosses that I hadn’t even opened it. These are the platonic ideal of a gloss, but I find myself shying away from them because they smell very strongly of fake vanilla. Like – very strongly. Kristen is a perfect pink-toned nude, Orchid is a bright violet, and Vamp is a very browned deep red.  I appreciate the range of colours and the shine of them, and the wear time is decent.

Fenty Beauty Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter in Gal on The Moon – I adore this gloss. This is, not shockingly, my favourite gloss. It is so glittery and weird and I adore it. It’s basically a sheer violet base with a bunch of blue glitter in it and my god, you know I love weird glittery stuff. This was an absolute impulse purchase and I messed up. Layered over lipstick, though, or a nude liner – my god. Force of nature.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow – And finally, I caved and ordered this online, based on the recommendation and swatches of a wonderful friend of mine. My god, it is stunning. It’s thick and ultra glossy and strangely plumping in aesthetics, but not in feeling, without having any dominant colour other than a sheer rosiness.

I regret…nothing? I regret some things. I regret the Winky Lux gloss; I probably didn’t need those colours of the Anastasia glosses. But apparently I’m into gloss now.

I’m still a matte girl. I like my lips as dry and unwelcoming as the rest of my persona. Searching for myself through glosses has been a journey, and I’ve learnt about what I like and what I don’t. I think I’m at current max gloss.