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.

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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.

Two Months of Junk – August/September Empties 2017

Despite holding out on this for two months, not a whole lot is going on. I guess that’s a relief? Let’s look at a whole bunch of shower gels!

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The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Shower Gel – Good, sweet, smells like jam, doesn’t dry my skin out. I last used one up in June 2016, so this will presumably keep coming round. I’ve become used to this formula and now my skin instantly dries out with any other shower gels. Repurchase? When it comes back, I might pick up one. It’s not an all time favourite, but it’s nice enough.

The Body Shop Pinita Colada Shower Gel – I finally used the last of my sale stash of pinita colada shower gels! I love the Body Shop cocktail smells – this is second to Virgin Mojito in my all time favourites, but it’s up there. Both of them are coming back to Australia this summer, so I’ll probably stock up again, and then my showers can be cocktail scented forever. Confessions of a shower gel hoarder. Repurchase? Absolutely.

The Body Shop Olive Shower Gel – You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. It took me a solid year of Body Shop shower gels before I got into the olive scent, and then I realised that it was actually the best of the main body shop scents. It’s fresh and clean but also a little soft and slightly woody? I love it. Naturally, it’s been discontinued and this was my last bottle. Damn, two months of shower gel usage went a bit wild. Repurchase? If they bring Olive back as a limited edition, I’ll be all over it.

Lush Plum Rain Shower Gel – As I mentioned, my skin has become strangely conditioned to Body Shop shower gels which thankfully don’t dry it out, but nearly everything else seems to make me itch. Lush is a particular offender, as lovely as this one was to sniff (my mum picked it up from the flagship London store). It was so nice smelling, but it made me so squeaky and itchy. What a bummer. I ended up mostly using it on my hands. Repurchase? No

Beautyblender – My original beauty blender finally kicked it! Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly vigilant about giving it any deep cleaning and just rinsed it here and there. Still, it’s about a year old and I used it mostly for cream contouring, so it was getting pretty gunky. I also can’t place which foundation I used it with that resulted in a weird tough chunk in the sponge material that made it a little fiddly to use. I don’t know that these are any better than any mid-range sponges (I haven’t tried the Real Techniques one, for instance), but I did have a backup from some gift set I had in the past. From black to pink I go. I enjoy using good soft sponges like this with thicker, mousse/clay type foundations or ones that are otherwise prone to catching on dry spots or looking mask-like. It makes them look more smooth and less cakey. I don’t like it for full coverage, or for full application – it’s not an everyday thing for me. Repurchase? I like having a good sponge on hand, but when my current Branded Beauty Blender dies, I’d like to try a different (cheaper) kind. These things are grossly expensive.

The Jojoba Company Jojoba Oil – This came in the last ever Marie Claire parcel, and it just would not run out. It’s fine, because it’s a nice oil, but I have an oil I prefer to use which made getting through this feel like a real slog. I appreciated that this wasn’t too thick or too gross smelling, but in an ideal world I’d have an oil that was a little bit lighter on the skin and a little nicer in scent. My skin was fine on it – no noticeable change. Purchase? Probably not, although I would look into their other products.

Sephora Collection Honey Lip Scrub – Nice enough for moisture, not nearly enough on its own as a lip scrub. I appreciated the moisture and gentle scrubbing it gave when I used it before bed, but would have preferred something slightly – slightly – more abrasive. Repurchase? Maybe. It’s a pretty decent balm, and I prefer a gentle scrub to an overly abrasive sugar scrub.

Mac Prolongwear Concealer in NC20 – This is a good concealer – heavy duty, not too dry, long wearing. Sadly, this colour was always slightly too yellow for me, and there was never anything quite right. Also, the packaging is terrible and everyone will tell you that. Repurchase? No.

Blinc Amplified Mascara – I’m fine with tubing mascaras, but this is not nearly as easy and fun to get off as I remembered. It also doesn’t do really do much of anything. Repurchase? Not on its own. If it’s in a set, like this one was, sure.

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Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes – Blah blah blah, I love these wipes when I’m feeling very lazy, or as a first step before properly taking off stubborn makeup. They don’t hurt my skin or my eyes and they’re the perfect amount of moist. Repurchase? Eternally – whenever Simple is on sale, I pick up a few packs.

The Body Shop Beauty Sponge – I thought I’d try out the Body Shop’s answer to a beauty blender and can conclusively say that it is…not good. I made it about a month of using it before I flat gave up, and most of that was damp use with powders. It’s far too dense – compared to most blending sponges, it’s rock hard. I’ve used the Chi Chi sponges before, and I’d be recommending those over this. It didn’t drink up product, which was good, but it also didn’t give me the airbrushed, smoothed effect I would want if I was opting for a sponge as my application method. No dice. Repurchase? No

The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Mask – I tried a couple of sachets of this (I tossed the other one) to give the new mask a go, and honestly speaking? It’s fine, but I still prefer the Ginseng and Rice mask any day of the week. That’s possibly my favourite mask in the world? I am looking for something still gentle but a little more deep cleansing for the summer, and sadly this wasn’t it – menthol freaks my skin out, and I’m not into the associated tingly feeling. I liked the exfoliation and I do like cleansing masks that are more gentle and less drying, but this just didn’t do enough to justify the unpleasantness, and it left my notoriously picky skin pretty red and frustrated. Purchase? No

it Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream – Employees have used this on me before to no particular notable impact, so I thought I’d give this sample a go myself. My current moisturiser is gorgeous for summer but occasionally I lust after something heavier – this wasn’t it. I’m very picky with skincare, and this was not a match for me. I was okay with the thickness and lack of fast absorption, because I could see it being nice for winter, but I still had a lot of problems with this cream. Mainly the ingredients list – yowza. Not the “yikes, chemicals!” rubbish, which you’ll never hear from me, but almost the opposite – this cream is so packed with unnecessary essential oils and plant extracts that as soon as I put it on I muttered to myself “lavender” and my chin began to itch. “Perfect for all skin types, even the most sensitive”, but still we’re going to throw in sandalwood and grapefruit and orange and bergamot and lavender. I really, really hate gratuitous essential oils in skincare that would have been perfectly lovely otherwise, when marketed to people with sensitive skin. I can handle lavender in very rare products, but they’re getting fewer and fewer. This cream messed me up. Purchase? No

Sephora Collection Smoothing Primer – I’ve used this primer before, and it’s a perfectly nice silicone based primer. I’m not rushing out to buy it again, but I’ll always use up samples of it. Purchase? Maybe one day, but I have other primers I prefer that are cheaper (albeit less accessible – The Ordinary’s High Adherence Silicone Primer; NYX Angel Veil Primer)

Sephora Collection Whipped Cream Body Moisturiser with Watermelon Extract – I liked the texture of this body cream, but it smelled far too strongly of watermelon lollies for me to ever purchase. Purchase? No

I suspect I’ll power through more junk the next couple of months. I’m doing another cruise in November, and travel tends to eat up product minis.

Bite Sized Five – Thoughts on Things

I’ve been sick recently and it’s been hard to compile thoughts, but here are’s a quick grab bag of products that I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts on. Sometimes I start using a product a lot and I develop stronger thoughts on it and no one cares about them so I need a venue for that. This is the venue.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Illumination – I should really update my Basics of Bases post, but a few products in that remain solid, including how I feel about the original Bye Bye Undereye concealer in that I love it when I need some hardcore coverage. I got a deluxe sample size of the newer version – the “illumination” version – and it’s…okay. It still gives me the same coverage, which is great. There’s no evidence of any darkness under my eyes when I put this on. However, the illumination factor is downright silvery in some lights, and it means that unlike the original you cannot use this or any excess on blemishes and if it isn’t blended studiously, you will be able to tell. I can only wear this concealer with a full coverage foundation, lest I end up a glittery mess – perhaps it would be a better option on someone with more darkness under their eyes that they’re trying to counteract, but I would worry about this highlighting it rather than erasing it. In short: not for me.

The Body Shop Matte Clay Foundation – From that same blog post, another product I still love and have completely surprised myself with is the Body Shop Fresh Nude foundation. It’s a relief, considering I really ought to wear it to work every day. For easy makeup that looks like skin, it’s the best. It’s still hard to fight my makeup loving instincts for full coverage makeup that looks like makeup, and while the new Matte Clay foundation is not at all an easy foundation, I am at the point in the learning curve where I’m totally into it.  This is not a foundation that forgives poor preparation or skincare – you need to prep and prime within an inch of your life. I love this with the primer I’m going to talk about in this post, actually. But I cannot skip moisturising or weekly physical exfoliation if I’m planning on wearing this, because it will find dry patches I did not know I had. It’s similar to the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation in coverage and feeling, but it’s less thick and mask-like, but also less forgiving. It does share the property of being extremely long wearing and it keeps me matte to the high heavens, which I honestly was not expecting. It looks like makeup, but sometimes I want that – with heavier eye makeup and full contour/highlight, sometimes I feel like I need a more present base. The shade range on this one, though, is dismal. When I can wear shades three through seven, it’s a bad sign.

I’m ridiculously high maintenance, and I’ve found that my perfect work foundation is a combination of this one and the Fresh Nude. More forgiving than this alone, more matte and with more coverage than just Fresh Nude.

Zoeva Matte Full Spectrum Palette – I’m so boring and I just love matte eyeshadows. I’ve just been picking a few and then slapping on some g old glitter shadow or a beige satin and I’m good to go. This is a great palette for allowing me to do looks with greens or reds or blues depending on however I’m feeling, and it doesn’t waste my time with lazy metallics that I can just rip from other palettes. The Zoeva mattes are definitely stiffer than something like a Kat Von D or Anastasia matte, but they blend nicely and are good for building – you have to start small and work up, and I appreciate that. It stops the tendency to just rush overboard with orange and purple. It’s expensive – priced fairly, but it’s huge – and at more than $70, it’s only worth it if you know you’re going to use a spectrum of matte colours.

The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer – I wrote recently about my enjoyment of The Ordinary’s other primer, the High Spreadability Fluid Primer, in a recent post. My enjoyment of that one lead me to pick up this option, which I was worried was going to be overly thick and tacky a la the Deciem Matte 12. Thankfully, this has the slight type of tackiness that is beneficial in a primer and helps to keep foundation adhering. Since it’s silicone based, it has the same smoothing action as the other primer. It feels lighter on the skin than the High Spreadability primer. That’s nice, sometimes. I wouldn’t wear this by itself, and it’s not the most effective pore filler around, but it’s become my go-to primer over the past few weeks. Frequency of use is okay, because I can actually afford to replace it (it’s around $10AUD from Myer), unlike the battle that is replacing NYX Angel Veil or the price of replacing Hourglass Mineral Veil.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes – Tarte, as a brand, are not my cup of tea. I used to swear by their Amazonian Clay Foundation when I was young and struggling with texture, but then I realised that the heavier foundations weren’t always the best solution. Whoever posted a racist meme on their instagram today and then blamed an intern? Yikes. That all said, this mini mascara came in the Christmas lash stash (I redeemed for the Make Up Forever Excessive Lash), and it’s a pretty popular one on the scene so it deserves comment. It’s nice. If you want very long, fluttery lashes that don’t clump together, this is a good mascara for that. Not too wet or too dry. On initial application, it’s one of the most false lash adjacent mascaras I’ve ever tried. However! My god, this mascara does not stay on. I don’t generally struggle with mascara running as a rule, which is why I find this notable. I seldom opt for waterproof mascaras but this mascara, after four hours, had flaked all over my under eye area and at six hours was smudge city. So all in all, that outweighs the initial prettiness for me. I’ve been using it up through layering – it’s lovely on the top lashes only, working with a far more durable and volumising mascara. I’ve enjoyed using this alongside the Buxom mascara, which I’ll probably write about soon, as it’s become one of my absolute workhorse products.

I tend to avoid writing about lip products here, but a special shout out rant about the Nars Power Matte Liquid Lipstick packaging. Beautiful, beautiful products on the lips – I have Starwoman and it’s an absolutely gorgeous red – but be it a faulty item or a fault of a lack of proper stopper and a very thin product, this thing leaks everywhere. I have red liquid lipstick all over my handbag. Caution advised.

That’s all my cut down rants and rambles for the moment, but I’m sure more are soon to come.