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 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 – September (new and new-to-me product reviews)

Other than lipsticks, I haven’t been trying out a whole lot of new things recently. I’ve been (drum roll) pretty sick, blah blah family problems, blah blah studying and working, and also just really trying to make the most out of what I already have rather than buying more stuff. Again, that’s with the exception of lipsticks. I’ve got a few things to talk about lipstick wise (Urban Decay Vice lipsticks! New Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Liquid lipsticks that I bought when I was heavily out of it on painkillers in hospital!).

I also could very easily have done a monthly round up of Body Shop products. As I’ve stated numerous times, I’m in retail, I work there, and it’s nice working somewhere that you actually like and use the products of. I tend to only talk about things if they’re huge hits or ridiculous fails (which does happen), and I tend to sample almost everything so my monthly empties tend to sum up most of the latest launches, but while I try not to overload these posts with that shit, there are actually two things I’m currently genuinely excited about. Like, would have bought full price as a normal customer excited. Like, one of them I bought three backups of excited. There are also some other things here that I’ve recently acquired, whether by purchasing them or by them just somehow ending up in my lap, but they felt worthy of discussion. Let’s dive in.

The Body Shop Piñita Colada Shower Gel – I put the shower gel here because I am a noted shower gel enthusiast and also because, as I mentioned, I bought three of these bad boys and I’m still not sure I have enough (three mojito shower gels didn’t feel like enough). Really, though, this is here for the scent. I also picked up the body butter, and I had zero intention of doing that. None. Do you know how many body butters you acquire when you work at The Body Shop? It’s a genuine epidemic. I had every plan on resisting this one in spite of the smell, but when I felt the texture – lightweight and springy, almost velvety, a la the Japanese Camellia Cream, I was sold. The shower gels were a no brainer. My mother loves coconut and I love pineapple, and we’re both thrilled that it’s not too heavy on the coconut so as to be cloying. Plus I’ve never had issues with TBS shower gels drying out my skin, and I’m not just saying that – Lush shower creams are my worst enemy, for example. Just check out the smell. Pop into a store and slather some on while it’s here. Grab a sample. It really is the perfect summery smell, not too heavy, not too sweet. I almost prefer it to Virgin Mojito. Almost.

The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Face Mask – I reviewed most of the new mask range back in my July empties, and I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of any of them. There was a lot of like-but-not-love going on (and in the case of the Himalayan Charcoal, which is coincidentally the most popular mask of the range in the Australian market, downright NOPE for me). I warmed up to the Acai berry one and I thought I might start to convince myself to gain enthusiasm for it, and then I finally tried the Ginseng and Rice mask. The next day, no kidding, my skin looked so damn good. I thought it might be a fluke, tried it again, and it turns out this mask is just the perfect match for my skin. It’s a clay mask, so it’s good for my blemishes, but it’s not a harsh stripping clay like the Himalayan Charcoal – it’s got rosehip oil and it dries almost soft, so you get the deep cleanse feeling but not to the same extent. It’s quite intense in its exfoliation, but with gentle little granules, and that’s lovely to someone like me who can’t handle our most popular exfoliation products and found two of the other masks to border on too exfoliating (acai and charcoal). I’m delicate. It’s also got a nice low but present level of salicylic acid and is overall just damn nice. It is permanent, so even though it’s sold out almost everywhere, it will be back eventually.

Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA – And over to something I have slightly less glowing thoughts about, sadly.   I have had great success with and really do enjoy the 2% BHA liquid, and a lot of people spoke about alternating their AHA and BHAs, so on a whim I thought I’d plunge in to the full size and try this out. Maybe I just tried this at the wrong time for my skin, but the three week period I was using this  with no other new additions was some of the downright worst my skin has been in a long time, just really broken out which is not usually how it goes in winter weather. I might give this a go at a later stage but I’m super wary of it.

em. Cosmetics The Great Cover Up Concealer in Light Neutral/Cool – I got this in my last Bellabox, but I thought I’d throw it in here to update you on how it actually works and my thoughts on it as a concealer. I’m notoriously quite fussy with concealers, and incredibly nonplussed by most of the major players (Mac Prolongwear? Eh. Estee Lauder Doublewear? Eh. Maybelline FitMe? Eh. Nars RCC? EH. The list is lengthy). I am surprised by how much I am enjoying this, especially given my hesitance towards em. Cosmetics as a brand. It’s definitely a creamier consistency, and reminds me of a higher coverage version of something like the Maybelline Superstay Better Skin, or perhaps an easier to blend version of the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye. It isn’t quite up to the job with severe raised blemishes which require a more tacky, solid concealer a la Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage or NYX’s Full Coverage Concealer in the little pot, but other than that it works well on blemishes, spot concealing, redness and under the eyes if you aren’t going for the instagram concealer highlight. The shade is nearly ideal for me, and will be perfect in summer – right now it’s a tiny smidgen too dark – and I appreciate the inclusion of undertones. I’ll definitely continue to use this, and it’s a product I would consider keeping in my regular rotation were it not so difficult to track down (perhaps I could cash in some of my hundreds of bellabox points).

Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon in Latergram (deluxe sample) – I feel like every review of this range of liquid lipsticks and matching liners briefly mentions that they’re setting aside the cringe inducing names and you know what, let’s actually all take a few moments to fully embrace the cringe. Imagine, if you will, a slideshow with the names appearing on screen. Yaassss. Manbun. Bae. Twerk. On Fleek. I’m standing next to the screen. I’m staring at you, shaking my head. A single tear rolls down my cheek. We’re in this together. Right, so Latergram is a pretty classic mauve with some dusty, brick type tones to it. It’s pretty basic and I would swatch it but my lips are covered in Pretty Zombie Cosmetics Transylvania and that shit is not going anywhere – and this is not a swatch post. I thought “hey, what could go wrong? It’s a lip liner in a pretty colour!” Yikes. These lip crayons, while being self sharpening – nice – are so damn dry and draggy on the lips. Even my traditional shove-it-in-the-bra-for-five-minutes doesn’t resolve the dragging problem, and believe me, my lips are in impeccable shape. I thought my NYX retractable liners took a bit of work, but this is next level. Put simply, these are not worth it. The matte lip paints themselves are tolerable if you’re a fan of mousse formulas, but unless they reformulate these liners, there are so much better options available at so much cheaper prices (my favourites are NYX for colour range, Essence for price, The Body Shop for comfort/creaminess, Urban Decay for something that feels fancier).

Five things! Hope those were worthwhile thoughts. Share yours! Tell me about other things! I’ll be commencing work on one of those lipstick posts, but which? Who knows. I’m also going to America just before Christmas, land of reasonably priced makeup and wonderful holiday releases, so I need to start making a list and checking it several times. Variety is the spice of life.

Basics of Bases – My Ride or Die Base Products

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

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

Concealers

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

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

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

Foundations

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

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

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

Powder

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

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

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