Friday, November 11, 2011

Face Painting

What does one do when the uni semester is over?

Convince people to let them put make up on their faces, of course!

I went over to my darling Elimy's house and had a peek at her stash.  (When I say stash, I'm only calling it that because that's what I call mine but of course but I have a blogger's stash and she has a normal person's stash.  As opposed to Tom Sellick, who has a regular stash.)

It is Movember, after all.

 It was really interesting working away from my usual cache of various instruments/ make up craziness.  But it was fun, too, challenging myself to think outside the square.  Box.  Ha.  I haven't had the opportunity to do makeup on some one else since doing theatre and that's a whole different kettle of fish.  I really liked the end result, and Elimy didn't say she hated it, so that's a plus. 

I used mostly powder shadows from various "drugstore palettes" and used one brush from Priceline.  Without further ado, please view my handiwork, and Elimy's pretty eyes.

I used a translucent white gold from lashline to brow bone, a soft dirty purple in the crease, pale pink in the centre of the lid to create a focal point and peacock green in the outer V.  There is also eyeliner on the lower lashline.  I wanted to emulate Elimy's style which is very soft and natural but also wanted to add a pop of colour.  To complete the look I added pinky blush and lipstick.  I let Elimy do the rest of her face, including foundation etc.  She used Fit Me 115 which she recommends to anyone thinking of trying it. 

All in all I had a lot of fun and will sneak some more colour in next time if she lets me. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blog sale! Nail polish (Aus only)

Due to international shipping restrictions I have to sadly decline any international bids for polish :( so have at it, Aussie belles!

Postage will be $5 for up to five polishes, and $10 after that. Most have been used 1-2x unless otherwise stated. Please comment with an email address and which polishes you're after, and I will email you with the total payment and ask for your address. I have padded bags and bubble wrap but if anything's broken during postage, I can't be held responsible.

China Glaze
Liquid Leather $3
Orange Knockout $3

Cameron (lime green) $5
Bianca (dark blue-green) $5

Orly Minis in Cosmic Kiss and White out, $4 for both
The Face Shop in WH002 (white) $4
Jezy Glitter #30 and Jezy Lilac #20, $1 for both

BYS French White $1
BYS Crackle Finish in Grey $1
Nubar Baby Blue $3

CND #419 Milky Way $5
Seche Vite (half bottle) $2
Seche Restore (full bottle, no dropper) $4

Mode Cosmetics, $1 each OR 3 for $2
Bubblegum HTF! (2/3 full)
Ooh Baby

Tree Hugger HTF!
Starry Night (new formula which is green, old was sparkly black)
Totally Hot

Blackjack (black)
Blackberry (almost-black purple)
Lilac Dawn

Pearl (half full, .50c or free with 3 others)
So Parisian (half full, .50c or free with 3 other polishes)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Team Pink Eye: Unique Pigments give-away!

If you haven't heard of Team Pink Eye, please go check out their blog now. They're a combination of amazing make-up bloggers and creators who are raising money for breast cancer and raising awareness.

My auntie has had breast cancer and my boyfriend's grandmother has had cancer, and they were both lucky enough to go into remission and become survivors. We don't know enough about this disease to prevent or cure it, so millions across the globe are struck down every year, leaving devastated friends and family in their wake.

My contribution to Team Pink Eye will be two-fold, I'm hosting a give-away (YAY!) and I'll also be posting a couple of looks this week.

The company I'm doing a give-away with is Unique Pigments (Artfire store link, they also have a Facebook store here). Now, I haven't personally tried this company but I've heard a lot of good things about them (read reviews here, here and here). They created a beautiful matte pink shade specifically for the project and they are donating a 5gr jar of it for the give-away :)

If you like Unique Pigments, like pink or just want to give more, there's a gift set with this shadow and two more which is available in the Unique Pigments Artfire shop and 35% of the proceeds from each sale will go to the Susan G Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure foundation.

How does the give-away work? Well! Go here and donate $5 to be a part of ALL Team Pink Eye give-aways this week! Then return to this post and comment with an email address and the name you used to donate with. Then wait for Frances and Rebecca to contact the winner at the end of the week! Even if you're not into pink (like me) this is a worthy cause. Please check out the Team Pink Eye blog for more looks and LOTS more give-aways!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Indie perfume favourites

I'll admit it: I'm pretty confident when I review make-up. Colour preferences aside, there are qualities that indicate, well, quality - opacity, longevity, texture, presentation and to some extent, packaging. I've done some basic photography classes and I consider myself handy enough with a camera to get decent photos. I can structure a review well enough that I feel comfortable calling my posts "reviews" instead of just haul posts or swatches.

However when it comes to perfumes, I feel COMPLETELY out of my depth. I literally went from cheap-o Impulse body sprays to that weird musky ea de toilette perfume called Taboo (I still have a bottle knocking around somewhere, I think) and then staggered onto the indie perfume scene with a vague understanding of top notes and dry-downs and a definite dislike for powdery florals. Since then I've thrown money at several companies, sampled my nose off and generally tried to understand what and why some things make me smile after I sniff (since all the boyfriend can tell me is "I like that one" or "I don't like that one").

Perfume is so personal, my lack of knowledge aside, I'm just not comfortable reviewing it. But I didn't want to keep completely silent about the great experiences I've had with several indie companies, so I'm going to compile a list of favourites instead of actual reviews. This way I get to showcase the stuff I love without having to buy a perfume dictionary from Amazon, which means more money for smelly things! YAY!

For me, scents fall into four different categories. The first is tolerance. I don't mind smelling it, but I'd never use it. The second is like - those are the smells I might go for in a soap or scrub, but I wouldn't wear as a perfume. The third is enjoyment. Those are the perfumes I'll return to - that I have a strong memory of, and I get in the 'mood' to wear. The last one is something I discovered only recently - that is perfume love. When you find yourself reaching for the same perfume every day. When all you want to do is sit there inhaling its gloriousness. When you wish everything in the world would smell like that perfume. When you're tempted to drink it to see if it tastes as good as it smells. I didn't realise there was perfume love until I smelled this scent. Ahem.

Purple Almond
This is a definite enjoyment perfume for me. I adore lavender and this is mixed with the smell of sugared almonds - a rare treat. The lavender keeps it from becoming too 'foody' for me. It's such a calming smell. I turn to this perfume when I'm particularly stressed. I bought a full-sized bottle.

Nuee Ardente
I like spicy, incense-y smells and this perfume is amazingly so - but not musky or pungent at all. This scent is fierce and warm and the rose-y notes temper it into something beautiful. This is one of the 'boyfriend-approved' ones, so I didn't hesitate getting a full-sized one.

Wrestling Tigers While Calling Your Mom Long Distance
What a name! More incense-y, woody smells here, but this particular perfume opens with this amazingly realistic cola scent. It smells like a curious sort of medicinal drink. It's suggested as a perfume for "those days when you are doing absolutely everything", and I feel like I have those a lot, so I got a full-size of this one too.

Candy Mechanic
The backstory behind this scent was so charming, and anything vaguely oil/petrol, metallic or earthy reminds me of my boyfriend. I found the description of this perfume to be absolutely spot on. For me, this scent toes the line between enjoyment and like - I didn't get a full size of this, but I have reached for the sample vial occasionally. It's such an intriguing scent!

Visit Zomg Smells here.

Dessert Absinthe
This perfume was a surprise to me. I like liquorice but I never would have imagined wearing it as a perfume. I'm also not a big fan of citrus scents... but this perfume blends both in such a way that it becomes this sweet, effortlessly invigorating concoction. The evolution of this scent when worn is beautiful, too - it starts out with a strong anise top note, and then as it dries you can really smell the lemon - but it's a soft, sweet lemon, like lemonade cream or something. Not sour or reminiscent of cleaning products at all (which is the main reason I dislike citrus scents). The result a few hours later is this lingering sweetness - vanilla with a touch of something darker. I have a little of my sample left and also a tube of solid fragrance. I don't wear this as often as I'd like since my boyfriend hates liquorice. Lysa offers this scent as a milk bath and I'm severely tempted.

Offer me a fragrance with coffee or chocolate in it and I'm very likely to try it - as you'll see when I talk about indie bath goodies later. Baltus was as much of a surprise for me as Dessert Absinthe was. I wasn't sure if I'd like this fragrance... I definitely didn't expect to fall in love with it.

I want to bathe in Baltus. I smell espresso - rich and strong. I smell caramel and chocolate and a bit of vanilla - creamy, sticky, sweet. Then emerges the fig, mashed together with pumpkin - an altogether different kind of sticky-creamy-sweet, much more effervescent; pungent but not sour at all. Baltus is a wild smell. The name Baltus makes me think of Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, which is fitting. This scent is indulgence. It's sexy and selfish and I enjoy every second of it. I have an empty sample vial and a full-size of this. I've been checking the shop every week or so in case Lysa does bath salts with Baltus - I'll have to buy a few packets!

I tried several other perfumes from TMTM, which have received rave reviews from various other bloggers - and they just didn't do anything for me. Not like Baltus. I also have a few other perfume vials I haven't touched. That's the problem with perfume love; sometimes you can't even make yourself wear something else!

Visit TMTM here.

Next up, favourite indie soap/scrub/lip balm scents!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lotions and Potions and Serums, oh my!

I've never had "great" skin - sure, I haven't had acne or battled a constant surge of giant pimples. However I do have enlarged pores, the occasional horror pimple, and my oily skin is black-head-ridden. Add to that the fact I'm officially 'an adult' and the cosmetic industry tells me I should start looking at preventative ageing skincare. EEP!

Not wanting to spend hundreds on expensive stuff like Clinique, Lancome, SK-II and also not being really sure what exactly my skin needs, I turned to Silk Naturals.

I already use a daily moisuriser with a sunscreen (Olay Complete UV Protection Moisture Lotion in Sensitive), cleanse with either OHWTO's Black Magic or Dream Tree Soapworks Magic Mirror Facial Cleansing Bar. I exfoliate a few times a week with St. Ives' Apricot Invigorating Scrub and at night I use Roses Are Red Face and Eye Cream from Sobe Botanicals.

I decided to focus mostly on getting rid of my blackheads and combatting the sun damage under my eyes. These are the products I got from Silk Naturals:

Microdermabrasion Cream
Apricot Cleansing Oil
Facelift Serum (sample)
Hemp Moisturiser

Then of course, not skin-care related I purchased a Kisser Slicker Lipstick in Nectar (which is a dupe of Joeybunny's much-beloved Black Honey) and got not one, but TWO full-sized GWP eyeshadows and a blush sample (which I transferred into a jar).

I already know I'm going to be purchasing a full-size of the Vitamin C Peptide Serum rather than the Facelift that I sampled. I also wouldn't mind trying some of the other moisturisers. I will review the make-up when I'm back from Sydney, but I've never really reviewed skincare, and it's something you have to try consistently to see if it lives up to its claims. I've never used anything microderma...braising? or a serum before.

One thing I am impressed with is how affordable Silk Naturals products are - and the generous GWP system! They don't sell samples of their make-up which is, for me, one of the things I like most about indie make-up. They do sample skincare though, and honestly, their makeup is so well-priced and there are so many places you can find swatches online, I'm not really fussed about that so much any more.

Any skin-care reviewing tips you'd like to share? Have you tried anything from Silk Naturals?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Op shop mini-haul

I am a total op shop junkie. That's 'thrift store' for my American readers. So when my mum offered to take my Auntie and I on an op-shop spree, I couldn't say no.


Adorably, ridiculously tacky shoes:

I don't understand why somebody would throw these out! Usually anything with rhinestones or diamantes is missing a few... not these babies. The soles are marked so you can tell they've been worn a bit, but from the top and front they are perfect. I never wear tan/beige but I couldn't say no to these, especially since they fit my teeny feet!

A dress to go with said shoes:

Funky pinstripe vest:
I'm slowly building up a vest collection, so far I have a denim one, a black leather one, a brown-y steampunk-ish one and now this cute pinstriped thing.

Awesome fancy lacy gothy dress:

LOVELOVELOVE. I probably won't be able to wear this for a while, since I don't go out much and it's rather cold at the moment.

Ridiculously cute denim crop jacket with oversized buttons:

Not pictured: long-sleeved shirts in purple, red and orange for layering.

There are a whole bunch of op-shops near our new house which I plan on checking out in a few weeks. If you'd like to see more op-shop hauls in the future, let me know! :) we have a cream fitted sheet on the bed that is PERFECT for photographing larger items like clothes, and we also have a little white side table which is the best backdrop for smaller things like makeup. It was totally unintentional, getting both of those things, but they're both very handy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Born Pretty haul

I pretty much covered all the details in my NoTD post, but here's pics of what I got from Born Pretty.

Set of dotting tools

Double-ended stamper, and scraper

Five (!) stamping plates. Lots of simple, cutesy designs like flowers,
butterflies, bows, hearts etc. and a few of the full-nail designs like
fishnets and swirls, which I will need to learn how to apply properly.

Stamping polishes (god I hope these work well) and nail glue.


I'm definitely going to be getting more plates and Fimo. I've gotten the hang of Konad-ing now (mostly) and Fimo is dead easy, if you don't mind having weird protrusions on your nails for a while. Born Pretty have free shipping internationally and there's usually a 10-15% off coupon floating around cyberspace somewhere. If you're interested in nail art at all, they're a great resource.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September Box Battle

Lust Have It vs. Beauty Box!

I'm a sucker and signed up for both of these (don't tell my boyfriend!) Having been far too intimidated and overwhelmed by the offerings of high and even mid-end skincare and makeup brands, I've stuck solely to my indie and pharmacy brands for years. Both of these companies/organisations/offers looked too good to be true - monthly samples of various lotions, potions and sparklies, for $15 a month including postage?!

I received my Beauty Box first since the kind postie left it in the meter box. The Lust Have It box required me to go on an epic quest involving several buses and a stroll through Curtin University's campus so I could get it from the post office, but in the end I got it, only a week or so after ordering. SUCH a change from all my international goodies.

Photos of the packaging are all over the internet and I'm not patient enough to take pictures before I open things ;) so if you're curious:
Beauty Box packaging.
Lust Have It packaging (and a review of the August box, which I didn't subscribe in time to get).
There's even another comparison here at Lucinda's Beauty Blog.

I have to admit that the Beauty Box was a bit disappointing for me, but only because it contained 3 items I knew straight away I wouldn't be using. The Lust Have It box was much more 'me'.

Beauty Box for September

1. Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Sleep
I've started using this, putting it on mostly at night but also in the morning if I've forgotten. No results as yet, I'm mostly hoping this will fade some of the pigmentation spots I've noticed under my eyes from sun exposure. I'm not entirely sure that it will, the claims are kind of vague.

2. Marc Jacobs Oh! Lola!
Since discovering indie perfumes I haven't looked back. There were three incredibly generous sample vials of this fragrance and I haven't even touched one of them. I'm just... so not interested? If anybody (within Aus. since it's perfume) wants these, let me know - you can seriously have them.

3. Sally Hansen Everyday Strength Medium Nail File.
I have three glass nail files - one to use, one to lose and one to break. Only half kidding. But after reading nail blogs and doing my own research, plus testing, the benefits of glass files was just too amazing to ignore and I'm not letting an ermery board ANYWHERE near my nails ever again. Not sure what I'm going to do with this, then. Personal bias aside, isn't Beauty Box supposed to be a collection of "luxury" samples? Why is there a $4.95 nail file in here?

4. Playboy Play it Spicy Body Spray
Pretty much an echo of my Lola! and nail file complaints. This is a cheap item, and I'm not using it.

5. Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil
This is pretty much the reason I haven't cancelled my subscription yet - oil cleansing is something I've developed an interest in but haven't managed to try yet. I've only used this once since the bottle is only big enough for 4-5 uses, but is was a sample I was actually interested in.

September Beauty Box Rating: 2/5. Dollar-wise, this box let me down by including two items which are NOT "luxury" at all. Additionally, the usefulness factor just wasn't there.

Lust Have It for September

1. Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara
YES! Lancome mascaras are the bomb, though I did drop them in favour of the more affordable and still very high-performing Covergirl Lashblast. I'm really enthusiastic about this sample and can't wait to try it!

2. Pure Fiji Coconut Milk Shower Gel
I'm not a big fan of coconut, so I'm dubious about this one. I'm definitely willing to give it a go.

3. Kerastase Elixir Ultime
I have yet to find a new hairdresser so my hair is definitely in need of a bit of TLC. This has some very promising ingredients, including the much-praised Argan oil.

4. Urban Rituelle Flourish organics hand cream
Hooray, something for my poor mistreated cuticles which isn't the smelly pharmacy cuticle cream I impulse-bought a while ago and have been regretting ever since! This bottle is so cute and small I'll be able to take it with me on the bus for pre-work applications.

5. Nicole by OPI Ultimate trend setter's laquer
Personally I've never bought OPI. I find some of their names very off-putting and occasionally offensive, which may seem like a silly reason, but there it is. However, Lust Have It peered directly into my brain and have supplied two adorably tiny bottles, one a blinged-out silver and the other an amazing metallic purple. My only objection to these is that I can't wear them to work.

September Lust Have It Rating: 4.5/5. Dollar-wise an amazing box, exactly what I imagine when I think "luxury". Usefulness rating very high - a mix of products I know I will use, and that I am definitely interested in trying out.

I won't be reviewing all of these, only the ones which are either awesome or terrible. Mediocre/undecided reviews aren't fun to read or write.

I should also note that there has been a bit of controversy about Beauty Box - a few people, like me, not too impressed with the contents of the box. Also apparently there is some confusion regarding terms of membership - on the card some people received it was written that posting reviews of the box contents "guarantees your continuing membership" - aka paying them for the box does not guarantee you'll continue to be subscribed. A bit odd. Also a few people have reported being charged more than once for a single month. After reading that I quickly checked my bank account and I have only been charged the once. Phew!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Furless Brushes

I am pretty bad with makeup brushes, I don’t like spending a lot of money on them and I’m not interested in brands whatsoever. My little collection of Ecotools brushes had me extremely content for quite a while. I purchased two stippling brushes from ELF, and since they were so good I decided to fill some gaps in my collection with some more ELF brushes.

A month later I was severely regretting it. They’d been a cheap buy and it showed. The crease brush was all wobbly around the ferrule and both brushes, I had to admit, were scratchy. Furless had some really lovely and useful looking brushes on sale and Suzanne had been raving about them, so I took the plunge. I got a lip brush (because I don’t have one) which was $7.95, a bent eyeliner brush (again, I don’t have one) which was $4.95 and a crease brush to replace the scratchy, coming-apart ELF one.  That was $8.95.

These are really similar to my Ecotools brushes (bamboo handle, soft dark brown synthetic bristles, pale brushed aluminium handle), which is great because I LOVE them. The ferrules are really well-constructed and the bristles are so shapely and soft. The bent eyeliner brush is seriously amazing, to the point where it allows me to create cat-eye liner! WOOHOO! The crease brush is amazing for creasework, lid application of lighter/neutral shades and for blending. The lip brush is so easy to work with, I’m actually going to be able to use all my potted lipsticks and samples now. The handle on that one is a little too long for it to be really portable, but I have a pretty big makeup pencil case so that’s ok.

I’ve had these for a while (let’s just pretend I was road-testing them and not being lazy) and have washed them twice. I experienced no loosening of the bristles and NO fall-out. They dry reasonably fast, the crease brush taking a while longer because it’s so fluffy and dense.

They sell make-up as well, but it’s at Australian prices (i.e expensive) and the last thing I need is more makeup.

All three brushes

Crease brush

Lip brush (needs cleaning, heh)

Bent liner brush
(splayed a little but I swear it doesn't affect application at all)

Close-up of all three

I am very seriously considering buying more Furless brushes, especially considering my order shipped the day after I purchased, and they’re located in Australia so I had my brushes within the week (!) They always have sales on. You can get brushes in sets, singles, and by golly are there a range of colours and shapes to choose from! On my list at the moment are the Bamboo Pencil Brush, Bamboo Eye/Concealer Brush, Fat and Furless Flat Liner Brush and the Fat and Furless Precision Concealer Brush. Those are all things I'm missing in my collection. If I was going to splurge on something kinda-necessary-but-mostly-just-pretty it would be the Purple Power Set. WAAAANT.

Blue Tiger Butterfly: NoTD

I have a metric butt-ton of draft posts but I'm so swamped with uni work, and moving stuff (we still have a distinct lack of furniture!) so here's a quick NoTD so you know I haven't forgotten about blogging.

I bought a bunch of stuff from as a celebratory "we got the house!", also using Lillian's 10% off code. Yay! It arrived just before my three-day break from work, so I pulled out a polish I bought a while ago but had yet to use. Blue Tiger from Australis. HOLY SHIT. I don't know why I never used this before! I mean, yes it's royal blue and I prefer turquoise/aqua shades but this is beautifully bright and OPAQUE IN ONE COAT.

A little snark about Australis polishes: "Intense colour with a high shine". The last polish I tried from them, Satine, was so sheer I didn't even bother trying to make it opaque. It was very shiny though. Blue Tiger is incredibly opaque, BUT it dries semi-matte. Obviously I have topcoat on in my photos, but still, I thought it was funny.

I got Konad plates, dotting tools, stamping polishes and some Fimo pieces from BornPretty and I honestly did not know what to do first, so... I decided to use a little bit of everything, minus the dotting tools. Please ignore the cuticle on my middle finger, I banged it at work and it's taking forever to heal up, despite twice-daily applications of cuticle cream!

Stamping done with China Glaze Millenium.
Layering on middle finger done with Mode Chillax.

The Fimo pieces have hard edges from being slathered in topcoat, and they do catch on things a little bit. I was SO tempted to do a French tip-esque line with the dotting tool, but LESS IS MORE. I think. Sometimes.

Another fun layering combo: Essie Demure Vixen topped with China Glaze Wireless holo topcoat. Subtle enough indoors that I didn't get in trouble at work, but SO GORGEOUS and sparkly outdoors! This does look a bit beat up, sorry.

The holo topcoat has the effect of almost merging the base colour (soft taupe-cocoa) and the shimmer (violet) into this lovely muted mauve-brown. The holo itself looks predominantly silver-green in the shade, but direct sunlight does give it more of a rainbow effect.

I think my bottle of Demure Vixen is reformulated, because it takes at least 3 coats to get opaque, and even then there's still a bit of VNL. I'm going to experiment with some of my nude/taupe polishes and see if any of them work OK as a base so I don't have to apply so darn much of Demure Vixen to get it looking good. It also develops tipwear really fast; I don't know if it's my base/topcoat or the actual polish though.

There you go, some pretty pictures! I'm off to Sydney next week for work training (boo) and a mini-holiday (yay!) so expect some posts when I get back. I should have some sporadic internet access while I'm there and I'll also be able to VISIT ILLAMASQUA! I'm so excited. I'm planning on getting an eye pencil and maybe a lipgloss as well.