Monday, December 31, 2012

Monthly Favourites - December

We are at the end of yet another month, but more strangely...the end of the whole year. Can you believe that 2012 is in fact over, and that tomorrow morning we will have entered 2013?! For me this is an incredibly strange feeling but I am really looking forward to the year to come, or rather saying goodbye to this year which has certainly had its ups and downs.Anyhow, I hope you have a fun night celebrating the new year!

Back to the point of the story, it's time for a monthly favourites post! Here are the products I turned to in December.

Face: In place of my Maybelline Dream Matte Powder I used my Face of Australia pressed powder. Initially the reason for doing so was because this is a little darker that my Maybelline one and therefore subtly warms up my face, ready for summer. I really like the finish it gives to my skin.

Lips: For lips there was no denying that my Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain had to be included in this post because I have been using it so regularly. Even though the minty scent is really off-putting, I have really grown to love the shade (Smitten), but most of all the unbelievable lasting power this has. Amazing!

Eyes: This was a bit of a surprise product for me because I really don't like eyeliner pencils. I had this Face of Australia Eye Definer pencil in Charcoal lying around and my friend picked it up and used it. I loved the effect it gave her and decided to make it work for me. I love the smokey grey effect it gives although it can tug a little during application. I must write a review on this soon!

Nails: Without a doubt my most used nail product for this month was my Ulta3 polish in Watermelon. I cannot love this colour any more, it is just gorgeous.

Other: For the other category is a pair of earrings, terribly plain, simple ones that I have worn every day. They are black with a gold rim around the edge and seem to go with everything. I think I picked them up for about four or so dollars at Diva, so it was definitely a bargain!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Empties of 2012

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now, you would know how much I hate finishing up a product. My feelings in regards to this are summed up in this post here, but basically I can't think of anything worse than hitting pan on a favourite shadow or bidding farewell to a much-loved foundation.

Despite all this, I did actually manage to finish products this year (an absolute miracle) and whilst this is heartbreakingly sad, I think it's probably a good thing.

Here are my empties for 2012!

First up are my Clean and Clear Cleanser and Moisturiser which are actually my second lot after repurchasing it when I ran out the first time. It is hardly surprising that I finished these up considering I use these twice a day. I really like how this works for my skin (and the price) but I think now that my skin is a little less oily, the cleanser is a bit too harsh so I'll be switching to another brand. I'm not sure which one it will be yet, I've still got some researching to do! (When I took the photos I hadn't yet finished my Cleanser but I have now!)

I also used up my Essence eyebrow gel. This is another product that I used every single day without fail. I love that it keeps my eyebrows in place but doesn't make them look to rigid and fake, and doesn't leave any strange residues. It feels fine and looks fine, and for the four or so dollars that I paid for it I am one happy girl! I'll definitely be repurchasing this.

The Evoke body spray in Electrified was one that I chucked in my bag, especially when going to the gym, and I was not stingy in terms of application. It seemed to last a remarkably long time considering how carefree I was, spraying it in great amounts, but it has (sadly) come to the end of its life.

I have been using this Hamilton Everyday Face light moisturising cream for a very, very long time now. I did go off it a bit during winter but with the start of Spring I picked it up again and found myself using it all up. I don't think I will purchase this again because even though I think it is a great product, I just have so many other products that can do the job.

Last but not least is perhaps my most surprising empty - the Garnier BB cream. My initial reaction to this was not a positive one, as reflected in my  review of the product. I found this to be an unbelievably greasy product and it just felt awful on my face. This hasn't changed, but I found that this combined with my Face of Australia concealer, Maybelline Dream Lumi touch concealer and Maybelline Dream Matte pressed powder was a winning combination. I won't purchase this one again, but I will try out the Garnier BB cream for oily/combination skin because I have heard such positive reviews!

So there you have it, I'm still in shock that I actually have empties for the year. It will be sad to see these go, but I guess it has to happen at some point!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Face of Australia Mineral Therapy Blush - Sheer Mauve

Mineral makeup is an area in which I am definitely not an expert. I know very little about the reasons why it is better/worse than other products, I don't even know how it is all that different from non-mineral makeup. I guess that is why when I received this blush to try out that I expected magical results, when in fact it is just like any other blush.

This Mineral therapy blush in Sheer Mauve is a loose pigment blush that is dispensed in a fun but messy kind of fashion. I personally much prefer a powder or cream blush because I find it so much simpler and easier to apply, but in the scheme of things this isn't all that bad (I'm just lazy and like the easiest and quickest options). I find that the biggest problem with this is that it is impossible to control how much comes out of the little holes and therefore you can end up with way too much product flying around everywhere.

The brush that comes as part of the product is, in my opinion, a bit of a waste of time. I think for beginners it would be perfectly suitable, but for those who have had even the slightest bit of experience using brushes they would find it too small and scratchy to give a decent application. It looks fancy as part of the packaging though, and I guess that counts for something.

The blush itself is a plain peachy type colour that is really very inconspicuous. It blends into my skin in a subtle but highly natural way, which is actually my favourite thing about it. I have lots of bright, pink blushes in my collection that look gorgeous on, but none that are actually just super natural and ridiculously easy to wear.

I find that the lasting power of this blush isn't as long as my other powder ones, but isn't awful either. In winter it stays on a lot longer, but in summer it just sweats off in the heat.

There is actually the slightest hint of silver shimmer in this blush, which isn't obvious but just something to be aware of. I think it would be nicer if the shimmer was gold, I think it would suit the peachy colour of the blush wrong, but it is so faint it hardly makes a difference.

The emphasis, as stated on the packaging of this product, is that it contains 'organic tea extracts' which apparently nourish, 'while natural Antioxidants Vitamin C and E work synergistically to condition and nurture the complexion.' None of that really bothers me much, I don't really care, but it sounds impressive. As is with all Face of Australia products, this is not tested on animals.

For $12.95 I probably wouldn't purchase this blush - not because there is anything wrong with it but because it just doesn't suit my personal taste. I'm not a huge fan of the loose pigment all that much, I would much prefer it in a pressed powder form.I give this blush 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"What do you think?" Wednesdays - Do you make an effort to support Aussie brands?

Australia has some awesome makeup brands - Face of Australia, Australis, Jurlique, Bloom, Model Co and Napolean Perdis, just to name a few - but is it important to support Australian brands and if so, do you make an effort to do just that?

I know that when it comes to local, Australian things, I like give it my full support. In saying this though, sometimes they just don't compete with British or American brands that are just so much better. I have so many Face of Australia and Australis products and I really, really like the brands so there is no denying that I'd happily spend my money on them. The thing is, I'm not actually doing it because I want to support the Australian business, I'm doing it because I like the products.

Then there are brands like Essence, Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel and Loreal that really aren't Australian brands but create some amazing products. I'd like to think that if, say...Maybelline and Australis created the exact same product and sold it for the exact same price that I would purchase the product from Australis, but the truth is that it is more likely that I would go for the one from Maybelline.

I'm not exactly sure why this it, it might have something to do with the fact that because Maybelline is so widely known it is an expectation that their products are of a great quality whereas Australis has a bit more leeway for hit and miss products. It might be that I'd be seeing more hype about the product from Maybelline and therefore would pick that to jump on the bandwagon...I don't know what it is but I really do think I would go for the one from Maybelline.

When it comes down to it, is it really that important to support Australian brands? I think so, especially the smaller independent ones. I think Australian makeup brands produce some amazing products and it would be a real shame to deprive them of the opportunity to continue doing so. I also think that there is something special about having products exclusive to Australia, just like America has with their brands that we can't access here down under (except of course online!).

What do you think? Do you go out of your way to support Australian brands or are you like me and just purchase products that you like, leaning towards the more well known American brands?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I am currently at the beach eating chocolate and flicking through magazines, which is what Christmas is all about for me.

I think everyone associates different things with Christmas, but the first things that come to mind for me are the beach, summer weather, holidays, magazines, chocolate, and gold eyeshadow.

Anyway, I hope you are all having a lovely time doing all the wonderful things that you associate with Christmas. Fingers crossed that you get some of the goodies you have been hoping for, but most of all I hope you have a fun, relaxing time with family and friends!

Everyone loves presents!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Moisturiser obsession - the FIVE moisturisers I use!

Lately my skin has been painfully dry, I'm talking peeling off and flaking kind of dry. I tried to convince myself that I was just like a snake, and that shedding my skin was a natural and healthy process, but I was unsuccessful at fooling myself - it's just disgusting and something needs to be done about it immediately!

I have no idea as to what might be the cause of this sudden dryness, especially because it is skin all over my body, not just my face or hands. Anyhow, back to the point of this post, such dry skin has meant that I have really been getting into my moisturisers. These are the ones I apply day and night:

The Body Shop Strawberry body butter - I use this on my feet and elbows because that is the driest part of my body and this is the hardcore stuff (being a 'body butter and all). I love this product, the scent especially, but it is perfect for such dry skin.

Garnier Body Intensive 7 days hydrating lotion -  I use this on my arms and legs, and I love this stuff. It has a refreshing smell, soaks right into the skin leaving it moisturised and soft but not greasy, and is cheap (I'm talking $5 cheap!)

Daisy Eau So Fresh by Marc Jacobs Radiant body lotion - I only just started getting into this, and I use it on my hands. It feels so lovely and smells divine, this is the perfect hand cream for me.

Clean and Clear essentials moisturiser - I am a huge fan of this moisturiser because it suits my skin very well. It is non greasy but is packed full of moisture, which is important because my face can never decide whether it wants to be oily, dry, or a combination of the two.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream - I use this moisturiser on the dry parts of my face that really need that extra boost. I find that this is quite a greasy moisturiser and that it doesn't soak in all that well, which is why I only use it on the driest areas.

So this is what I use morning and night in my somewhat elaborate routine. I think that it is quite crazy that I use five different moisturisers, but I think most beauty fanatics would understand where I am coming from when I say that they all have different properties suitable for different needs!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Off to the beach I go...

I am going to be spending two weeks at the beach hanging out with the family. Fourteen of us have booked three holiday houses for ten days over Christmas and New Years, so I plan on just hanging out at the house that has the fridge full of the best foods.

In that time I will have scheduled posts to keep those of you relaxing at home entertained.  The only thing that will change is that comments won't be posted until I return (unless I can magically gain possession of some Internet while I am there).

That certainly does not mean that you can't leave comments though! I would love to return to find a whole heap sitting patiently on my dashboard.

Thank you for all your support this year and I hope you all have a lovely holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Loreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Anti-Dull Skin Primer - Light Skin

I remember when I picked this up a remarkably long time ago. It was on sale for $5 and I recall thinking how much of a bargain that was, because Loreal products are usually really expensive. It is an anti-dull skin primer, and so I was really excited about using it.

I've worn it once in my life and never again will I use it. It's the most awful, shimmery, liquidy mess that you will ever come across and it makes your skin look hideous.

Because it is a pinky salmon type colour, it is meant to brighten dull skin. What it does is simply make you look like a beetroot, but not just any beetroot - a sparkly one. Yes, there is so much glitter and shimmer in this it is just not funny, and I think even the most hardcore shimmer lovers wouldn't be able to handle this. It literally makes your face sparkle in this creepy and childish type fashion.
The product itself comes in a bottle which does have a pump - my favourite way for a face product to be dispensed. It is a very runny texture and doesn't blend well into the skin. You only need the tiniest amount because it goes everywhere. It feels good on  and dries to a matte type finish. The shimmer means that it is remarkably glowy, and the chunks of silver glitter add to the sparkle.

In terms of lasting power and other factors like that, I haven't really bothered to wait around and find out because I just hate the sparkly nature of this product so much as well as the pink finish it gives to my skin.

Whilst this has been a short review, I think it is clear that this is a product I would not at all recommend, but to be honest I'm not even sure if they sell this anymore. I give this product 2/10.

Also, apologies for the not so wonderful photos, I was in such a hurry and figured that this terrible product didn't deserve to be photographed nicely anyway!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"What do you think?" Wednesdays - Buying makeup off of Ebay - Good or bad idea?

This week's post is about purchasing makeup off of Ebay. Unlike other weeks where I have had an opinion and made it quite clear, when it comes to this topic I really have no idea because I've not had any experience with the matter.

Ebay is an awesome place to look around. It's like a mammoth second hand store where prices are so cheap it's practically free, but for the valuable items you can come up against competition. I've bought numerous books and magazines from Ebay, but when it comes to makeup and beauty related items I'm not game enough to give it a shot.

Ebay is renowned for dodgy dealers who claim that a particular brand of makeup (*cough cough MAC and NARS*) is genuine, when in fact it is anything but.

I personally hate the idea of fake knock-offs of bigger brands. Who knows what has gone into that fake Naked Palette? For all I know I could end up with lumps resembling Mount Everest and tomato-like rashes all over my body from an allergic reaction to the dodgy ingredients they have used. Most of all, if I've paid to get a MAC lipstick, a MAC lipstick is what I expect to get no matter how similar it is to the real deal.

That's another thing - some people don't mind copies of real products, as long as the quality and shades are reflected accurately in the knock-off. I don't think so. No matter how good a copy is, if I think I am paying for the real thing then that is what I expect to get. If I wanted the fake copy, I would go out and get that instead.

Anyhow, that is the main problem I have with purchasing cosmetics off of Ebay, and that brings me to my next point (which is more of a question I ask you all): Is there any way that you can determine whether someone is selling genuine cosmetics or not? How can you trust someone and what makes you trust them?

Are there any tell tale signs that you can follow before making that purchase? I'm not talking about when you receive that fake Naked palette and see that they've spelled 'Naked' wrong and half the mirror has cracked and fallen off and the eyeshadows are all the wrong colours - I'm talking about whether you can determine if someone is selling the real thing prior to making the purchase.

It is for all these reasons that I can't bring myself to purchase any makeup off of Ebay, no matter how appealing the prices appear to be.

Are you like me in that you can't bear the thought of using a fake copy, or are you fine with purchasing knock-offs? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve when it comes to spotting a fake seller or is it just luck of the draw?

Have you had any good or bad experiences with purchasing cosmetics off of Ebay? I would love to become a little more informed because (clearly) I know very little about the subject.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Face of Australia Tinted Moisturiser - Medium

 Before the explosion of BB creams, I always had so much trouble finding tinted moisturisers that were a suitable shade and had a semi-decent level of coverage. Whilst I appreciated that tinted moisturisers were meant to be lightweight, I still wanted some coverage, because I still get blemishes in summer!

Previously, I've tried the Formula 10.0.6 tinted moisturiser (too orange), the Hamilton Everyday Face tinted sunscreen (no coverage), the Garnier BB cream (good, but too greasy for summer) and even a Cancer Council tinted moisturiser (much too dark). Some of them have been good but there has always been one or two factors that prevented it from being perfect. Was this the perfect tinted moisturiser?

When I was given this to try out, I was really pleased to find that whilst this isn't perfect, it is pretty much what I was looking for.

First up: packaging. It's neither here nor there in terms of appealing packaging. As is with all tinted moisturisers, it comes with a flexible, squeezy tube. I like that this is quite little (50mL) because it makes it more convenient to carry around at the beach and places like that.

Unlike many of the Face of Australia products, it doesn't have an obvious smell to it, certainly not after application. Initially once having applied it, it does feel a little greasy and uncomfortable, but that feeling soon disappears as it soaks into the skin. It gives my skin a smooth finish, but in terms of coverage it is pretty light - about the same as the Garnier BB cream, perhaps even less. It has a very dewy, glowy kind of finish.

See how it has oxidised around the edges?
The main problem that I have with this is that it oxidises. A lot. After about one minute on the skin it has turned a couple of shades darker, or in the Medium shade's case, a couple of shades more orange-like. I would highly recommend testing this out before making a purchase because what may seem like the correct shade to begin with could turn several shades darker than you might like.

Because of this colour change, it really enters the hazy territory where I find it really difficult to determine if it is too dark for me to wear. I stick to the rule that I only wear this in summer and I avoid wearing any bronzer with this to avoid potential oompa loompa type disasters.

Another thing that is important to know is that you must focus on really blending this product in otherwise it applies in a lovely blotchy pattern. This is not a product where you can just slap it on with confidence,  you have to make sure you have a mirror and really take notice of how evenly applied it is.

I find that this is relatively long lasting, though the wear time certainly increases with a primer, and mainly the application of a setting powder. I do find that my concealer outlasts this product, which is quite unusual for me but there you have it.

Despite these few factors, I do quite like this tinted moisturiser and will continue to use it in the warmer months instead of my BB cream which is just too greasy in the heat. Is this the perfect tinted moisturiser? No, but it does the job and for $11.95 it's not a bad price.

I give this 7 out of 10.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Salon Confidential R:04 Repair Ends Mender

When you have long hair it is really important to pay special attention to it and look after it. This is something I have learnt the hard way. My hair was (note the term was) so long that when I sat down it would touch the seat of the chair. Yes, it was actually that long. Despite that, the amount of love and attention that I gave it totaled at zero. All I did was wash it and brush it and then tie it up in a ponytail Boring? Absolutely. The thing was, I didn't even like how it looked and I was so sick of not being able to do anything exciting with it but I was just too attached to it and I couldn't bear the thought of cutting it.

Anyway, back to the point of the story, a couple of days ago I realised that the ends of my hair were so dried out, split and broken that the only option I had left was to chop it all off. My hair is now about 15cm shorter and whilst I'm still getting used to what feels like the equivalent of a pixie crop (but is actually still quite long hair), it is so much healthier.

I had been using this product quite erratically for months, but since cutting my hair and having a fresh start I have decided to make it a regular step in my pathetic 'hair routine.' I thought I'd let you know why I've chosen this to do the job.

First up is the packaging. For some reason I love the look of this product! It has a matte white background with glossy print, it looks expensive to me. Speaking of expenses, I picked this up because it was cheap - $9.95 in Price Attack! That, in comparison to many other products, is a total bargain.

"So what does it actually do?" you might be thinking. Well, this product instantly makes the hair feel so smooth and silky without any feelings of greasiness or sticky sensations. It smells amazing (like most hair products) and I think the smell is enough to make me use it regularly! As it states on the bottle, it 'enhances shine' which I have to agree with completely - my hair looks so much healthier and glossier after having run this through it.

Another thing that it claims to do is eliminate frizz. I use this on the mid lengths and ends of my hair and it does a good job at minimising frizz, but I will admit that isn't really a problem for me anyway.

The main purpose of this product, however, is to 'seal the ends' and help fight against split ends and breakage. If I'm honest with you, this product is pretty useless once you already have split and damaged hair. It did very little to my dry and damaged ends, but now that they are all healthy again I'm going to use this to prevent breakage because it does a pretty good job. It does emphasise on the back that it does repair hair, but I'm not convinced.

Other information that you may be interested in is that it is Australian made and owned, not tested on animals and 'is a powerful combination of healing extracts: rosemary for antioxidant action, macadamia as a natural moisturiser, pearl for lustre and shine, and ginseng root to increase hair elasticity.'

Basically, when it comes down to it, I really like this stuff but it isn't the most incredible thing I have ever come across in my life. I give it 8 out of 10.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Garnier Body Intensive 7 Days Hydrating Lotion

I picked this up when I was in need of a good moisturiser for my legs and arms. Previously I was using a cheap and boring one, Coles brand I believe, which was alright but nothing special. I didn't want to pay much for this considering I would be using this frequently in great amounts and I wouldn't even see it (not like a fun lipstick or blush!).

It needed to be highly moisturising as my legs were quite dry, but it couldn't be at all greasy or leave any residue because that is just something that I cannot tolerate. I saw this for about $5 on sale in Coles and decided to give it a shot.

First up is the properties of the product, as outlined on the packaging:
"Intensive 7 days hydrating lotion is powered by L-Bifidus and naturally derived Aloe Vera Extract, specifically chosen for the moisture needs of normal skin. Hydration is so intense you will still feel it for up to seven days after the last application."

I think moisture for 7 days is a pretty big claim, and in my opinion simply one that they just didn't live up to. I needed to apply this moisturiser daily, or at least every second day - certainly not every 7 days. I don't have a problem with this in the slightest because it is my understanding that you need to apply any type of moisturiser every day, it just annoys me that they put such claims on the product.

Moving on, this is a refreshing, non greasy moisturiser that I really like. I like the smell of this (a non offensive fresh fragrance) but most of all I like the way it feels after the initial application as well as the remainder of the day once it has soaked in. It was highly effective (and my skin was quite dry at the time) and long lasting. I also really like the consistency of the product, not too runny and not too thick.

I like the simple green packaging of the product. It comes in a 400ml bottle that is practical and will last a long time.

I'm not sure that there is much more you can say about a body moisturiser, but it is effective and cheap, thus making it a darn good product in my eyes! I give this 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"What do you think?" Wednesdays - When is it okay to start wearing makeup?

For most things in life there is an age band where an action is considered appropriate (drinking alcohol, having children, throwing tantrums etc) but sometimes the lines get a little blurry. Wearing makeup is one of those things where people differ greatly in opinion, and most often they have very good reasons as to why they believe a certain thing. So is there an answer for the question When is it okay to start wearing makeup?

Another question that can be raised, is "Does good application make up for someone being very young?" What I mean by that, is if you saw a ten year old with orange foundation, heavy eyeliner and bright red lipstick I imagine you would frown upon their parents for letting them wear makeup. However, if you were to pass a ten year old wearing a light tinted moisturiser, colourless lip balm and perhaps even a coat or two of mascara, you probably wouldn't think so poorly of them (or their parents), if you even noticed it at all. By applying their makeup well, can someone gain 'rights' to wearing makeup at a younger age than their peers with shocking application skills?

I know for me that was certainly the case, at least with my parents. When I was about twelve I remember taking an interest in tinted lip balms, gradually moving on to glosses. I remember making a deal with Mum that I could wear a light pink (practically non existent) gloss only on the weekends, and I could use a colourless lip balm as I pleased. I remember thinking that this was a brilliant deal. As time moved on and others around me began wearing makeup of a more serious nature (like mascara, eyeliner and foundation) I too wanted to give it a try. Not confident in what I was doing, I sought lessons from Mum who was happy to teach me. The way she saw it, when she was teaching me how to apply makeup tastefully, I would be able to wear all the makeup that I wanted (which was not a lot) and I would look nice, instead of trashy like all my peers who seemed to have broken all the unwritten rules of makeup application.

I really appreciate Mum doing this, because it allowed me to experiment and have fun with makeup without people looking down on me and judging both me and her. I wore tinted moisturiser that tricked people into thinking I had gorgeous glowing skin, without even realising that I had sought the help of a tinted moisturiser. I wore one coat of mascara that served the purpose of separating, lengthening and defining my lashes. No one ever thought I was wearing mascara, they just thought I had to-die-for lashes. As for the lips, I wore natural shades of pink in every kind, and whilst people could tell I had something on my lips, it was never something to be frowned upon.

My good application skills meant that I was able to get away with wearing makeup at what I consider to be quite a young age (about 12). As I got older I began to wear more makeup and incorporate a wider variety of products into my daily 'look' but in the beginning it was simple, natural and sweet.

Coming back to how old one must be to start wearing makeup...I really don't think there is an answer to this. Some people start young, others start wearing makeup in high school or university. Some never wear makeup for their whole life. There is no right or wrong, however I do personally  think that Primary school aged kids (5-12 years) is a bit young, although by 12 years you are in that awkward stage where you are either too young for everything or too old for everything, there is nothing in between.

I wouldn't think anything of a 12 year old wearing what I did when I was that age, and I would in fact praise whoever taught them how to wear makeup because they have instilled good taste into their child in terms of makeup from the start! Seriously though, I avoid judging people that age because there is no right and wrong. I do think that when you see tiny little girls (like those in the awful beauty pageants) wearing a full face of makeup (or even just a little) that it is quite heartbreaking more than anything.

No five year old would express an interest in spending time applying makeup every morning - they have important things to worry about like finding good hiding spots for hide and seek and which clothes to put on their doll for the day. In those situations, it is the parents who are forcing the makeup upon the child, and that makes me sad. The poor child is being introduced into a world of never looking good enough and where beauty is all that matters. You really want kids to view makeup as a fun confidence booster, not a compulsory 'face' that is the difference as to whether they are ugly or attractive.

When I see those photos of the celebrities whose 5 year old daughter is wearing shocking red lipstick, I find it strange and perhaps even a little uncomfortable. Sure, little kids loving playing with Mummy's lipstick at home every now and again, but I can guarantee my Mum would never have let me out in public with perfectly applied red lipstick before I was even old enough to go to school! Even nail polish was one of those things where I could only wear it on my fingers once I was about 8 years old!

Well that was a remarkably long post - I guess I have a lot to say about this topic! I would love to know your thoughts, especially considering that it is one of those topics where people differ greatly in opinion (I know some people who think that 18 is the age that one should begin wearing makeup, because it is an 'adult' activity - I guess I broke that law then!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blistex Lip Conditioner

We've all heard the phrase 'Beauty is pain.' Well this fits that phrase perfectly, it is such a painful product.

Much like Carmex, which I struggle to get along with, this is one of those lipbalms that claims to 'tingle' when applied on the lips. What they mean by 'tingle' is actually burn, because I find that my lips are literally in pain as a result of this lip conditioner.

Blistex is a brand that I haven't heard much about or seen many reviews on but it has always taken my interest. I only have one other product from the brand, a strawberry lipbalm, but I do quite like it. This product, however, was not a favourite of mine.

The first thing I noticed when opening this was the incredibly strong smell of menthol mixed with sunscreen. It smells very...medical, if that makes sense. It is certainly not a nice scent. You can tell that this product is going to burn by just getting a whiff of it!

The product itself is quite waxy and gets very dry and hard in the pot. It is an off-yellow colour which is really not all that appealing. It takes a lot of swirling my fingers around in it to soften it enough for decent application. As always, I find pots a pain as I must get my fingers grubby.

There are however, some good points about this. On my lips it is very glossy and gives off a lovely sheen. Along with the tingling burning sensation, I find my lips go red in colour which, as it is achieved without tinted product, looks very natural (because it is!). The lip conditioner has an SPF 20 and is classified as 'High protection sunscreen' on the little tub.

I have been forcing myself to use it as I was interested in whether it really was more of a heavy duty lip balm and would give me lovely, moisturised lips. It turns out that yes, it is pretty good when it comes to doing what it is supposed to do.

Because this product works, I do use it even though I really, really don't like how 'tingly' it is. I apply it before bed so that I don't have that smell following me around during the day.

I would give this product 6 out of 10.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Essence Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Shimmer Powder - Bella's secret

 Highlighters and illuminators are areas in which I am somewhat lacking in my makeup collection. This is partly because until I started blogging I had no idea such things existed, but also because they're not as abundant as say blushes or other face products. Despite this, having discovered the magic of a good highlighter (and good application) I decided that I needed to pick one up.

When the Essence Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 collection came out (I cannot explain how much I hate the name of that collection) there were a couple of stand out products, but this was certainly one of them. From that collection, this was the only product I personally found myself wanting, and I am really glad that I picked it up.

This highlighter (or 'shimmer powder') is a golden toned, finely milled powder that contains bucketloads of shimmer (not glitter). On the skin it gives a glowing yellow sheen, that applied with a light hand looks absolutely gorgeous.

Having only used pink based highlighters/illuminators in the past, this was quite exciting as I really feel that golden based shimmer is a lot more versatile and easy to work with. I apply this powder on the tops of my cheekbones, on the brow bone and sometimes on the inner corners of my eye for a subtle 'glowy' look. I also really like using it as an all over the lid eyeshadow, because it is lovely and golden but not too 'in-your-face.'

I would like to emphasise the finish that it gives - it is not at all dramatic. If you are looking for a heavy, glittery product then this really isn't for you because when I use it, I get results that are so subtle they are almost non existent - and that is how I like it.

I like the simplistic, practical packing on this product. It does look cheap and tacky, but it does the job. I like the size of the product too, I think you get an ample amount of powder.

This lasts the majority of the day and sits comfortably on the skin. It has no fallout and is easy to apply. This isn't the most amazing product that is worth raving about over and over again, but it is a simple, likable powder that I will continue to use regularly.

This was a very cheap ($5) product that unfortunately isn't being sold any longer (though I have seen leftovers from the collection stuffed randomly in crevices of the Essence stand in my local Target and Priceline stores) that I am glad I picked up. I give this 7 out of 10.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"What do you think?" Wednesdays - Is constructive criticism in regards to makeup okay?

I hate it when people comment about my make-up in a negative way. It's okay if they are complimenting me on it, but if there is anything even remotely negative (even if it is constructive criticism) then I just don't take it well.

I like how I do my make-up, hence why I do it that way. I wouldn't wear it in that particular way if I wasn't pleased with the way it looked. I think that this is why it bothers me so much when someone doesn't like what I've done - because they are essentially insulting me as a person.

I couldn't care less if people didn't like my clothes, shoes or jewellery, but for some (perhaps strange) reason I just hate comments about the make-up.

It is for this reason that I never, ever judge another person's make-up. Okay, that's a lie - I judge everyone's make-up, I just never, ever comment about it. I'll laugh/complain/express my disgust in regards to another's makeup to someone else, but never to their face. I know that if they wore it like that, they must like it, and therefore it is not my place to tell them that they look like escaped clowns from the circus with two hairy caterpillars perched on their electric-shock blue eyelids. Not my place.

I do, however, know several people who would not refrain from 'advising' others on their make-up, whether they be good friends or complete strangers. "That winged eyeliner looks disgraceful honey!" they might shout, or "What were you thinking with the lippy, you look half dead!" Since when did they become make-up experts (we all know I'm the expert here!). But in all seriousness, who is the expert? Maybe they are wrong in their ideas regarding what make-up looks best...maybe I am the one who looks shocking.

Also, is there a point where constructive criticism is kinder than it is mean? If someone is suffering from heavily pencilled eyebrows, orange foundation and navy blue and forest green eyeshadow, is it kinder to suggest a more 'natural' look than it is cruel?

I personally couldn't do it, not to their face. Would you?

I would love to know what you think about giving 'constructive criticism' in regards to other people's make-up.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Montly Favourites - November

Monthly favourites for November are here, and if I do say so myself, the pictures for this month are pretty cool. I was feeling creative (a very rare occurrence) at 7pm, the sun was still out and I figured I may as well do something somewhat productive!

Anyway, my favourites for this month are as follows:
Face - This month I used my Garnier BB cream every single day without fail. Despite having complained about the greasy feeling this product gave me, I have since learnt about how to deal with it (by slapping on a heap of Maybelline Dream Matte Powder). I haven't needed super high coverage, but I've still wanted something to hide my redness and uneven tones, and this has been just right.
Lips - It is not much of a surprise that my new Rimmel Lipstick in number 16 was my favourite for November, because as soon as I saw the shade I knew it was 100% me. It is slightly brighter than I would usually go for, but now that I am on holidays I have been cracking out the brights, and goodness it has been enjoyable!
Nails - Whilst I don't actually like the formulation of the Face of Australia Pastel polish in 'Would you like some orange sherbet?' (and I still can't decide whether I like the shade on me or not), this is the only nail related product I used this month so I haven't any other choice but to put this in here!
Eyes - I usually wear my Covergirl Lashblast length waterproof mascara, but I was getting sick of the waterproof formula and all the effort it took to take off, so I decided to use this Avon daring curves one, and I am a big fan.
Other - Lastly is my 'other' category, and this is, hands down, my Daisy Eau So Fresh perfume by Marc Jacobs. The bottle is unbelievably gorgeous and the smell is so beautifully summery and girly...How could you not love it?!

Friday, November 30, 2012

NOTD - Face of Australia Pastel Nail Polish "Would you like some orange sherbet?"

The Face of Australia Pastels collection was one that I was very interested in as soon as I saw it. Whilst my nail polish collection is of a fairly large nature, it is certainly lacking in pastels. The two shades that caught my eye instantly were "Would you like some orange sherbet?" and "After Dinner Mint."

"Would you like some orange sherbet?" is a light apricot shade, which I think would be better named "Peaches and cream" or something similar. It is quite a bit brighter in real life than it appears in the photo, and if I'm really honest with you, looks quite sickly on my nails. I'm not sure whether it just doesn't suit my skin tone or what, but I really haven't fallen in love with it like I had hoped.

It was concerningly thin and streaky upon the initial layer of application, by layer 2 it was looking a little more promising, and by layer three it evened out even further. It still looks streaky and uneven though after three layers, and I am not impressed with the formulation.

Considering that I usually love Face of Australia's products, this has come as quite a disappointment. I thought I was really going to love this, but I just haven't.

You can pick these up for $4.95.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"What do you think?" Wednesdays - How much is too much makeup?

With beauty blogging comes a bigger make-up drawer. With a bigger make-up drawer comes more make-up. With more make-up, comes an empty bank account. Whilst this is a very well known and accepted fact amongst beauty bloggers, does there become a point where you simply have too much make-up? Is there a line that you can cross to enter 'excessive and unnecessary' territory or can you literally never have enough makeup?

The size of one's makeup collection is relative - it cannot be labelled big or small unless there is something for it to be compared to. My make-up collection, for instance, is absolutely huge in comparison to my Mum's which consists of the absolute basics. However, when I compare it to most other beauty bloggers, I find myself muttering about how tiny it is and how lacking in shade selection it is. Is it a big or a small collection? To be honest I really do not know, but it doesn't stop me from feeling both hungry for more and guilty for 'wasting' money on products I will never use up.

"How does that even make sense?" you may be thinking. It puzzles me quite a bit too. On one hand I'm thinking about all the people who could really do with the money I am spending on yet another lipstick in a similar shade to the ten I already have, but on the other hand that lipstick (which is coincidentally on sale for $10) is really calling out my name.

I try to justify my purchases with any excuse that I can, but it doesn't really change the fact that I really do not need it. Some of the excuses I have come up with include "I don't have anything like this!" (lie), "It's only $5 so it's not like I'm wasting that much money," (true, except for the 5 other things priced at $5 too) and "It's my hobby, other people have obsessions with comic books or model aeroplanes, mine is make-up," (true, but I could always put it safely away in the bank).

When writing this post it really forced me to think about whether I had actually stepped over the line of having too much makeup, and if I'm honest with you, I think I probably have. Yes, I may only have two foundations whereas others have eight, and yes I may only own two highlighters and three bronzers when others dedicate a whole shelf to such products, but in the end one of each product would probably be sufficient. Not nearly as much fun, but sufficient.

Instead of feeling all guilty about it and vowing never to purchase anything ever again, I have decided to really think about my purchases beforehand in order to eliminate any silly purchases. I feel better about my collection when I think about how often I use all the products and how much fun I get from using them.I think this is what you need to think about when weighing up your make-up collection:
- Do you use the majority of the products?
- Can you actually afford your collection, or do your big purchases continually leave you in an awkward financial position?
- Have you got any other products like this?
- Is there anything that you actually need that you could spend this money more sensibly on?
- How much does it bother you when you think of other things you could have spent the money on?

Basically, with no real answers to give, I think the key point here is balance. Everyone's idea of balance will be different but as long as you feel comfortable about it all, that is the main thing. I also think judging other people about their choices when it comes to their make-up collection is also important to avoid. I, for example, spend my spare change on make-up so it would appear as I 'waste' a lot, however I spend almost nothing on my mobile phone bill and I consider it to be a waste when others spend $400 on theirs! Everyone has different choices which allow them to justify their purchases.

What do you think about all of this? Is there a clear cut line for you when it comes to having a make-up collection too big, or do you think there is no such thing as too much?!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rimmel London Kate Moss Spring Lipstick collection - 16

 When the very first Kate Moss lipstick by Rimmel came out, I was drawn to the collection. The problem was, I really couldn't find a shade that I liked enough to purchase. Months later, the Spring Collection came out, and amongst that was a little beauty - number 16.

First up, let's address the naming situation, or rather lack of. Honestly, a lipstick without a name?! That's horrible. Every lipstick needs a name, especially if it is a gorgeous shade like this one. Half the fun of buying a lipstick is the name!

The packing of this is fairly average, not amazing but not awful either. I do like the pink signature on the black casing, as well as the crown imprint on the lid.

As you can probably see, the shade is a gorgeous pinky/coral colour. It's like a vibrant but still wearable watermelon type shade. It screams summer and spring and I plan on wearing this regularly.

This lipstick smells ridiculously fruity. Being the scent loving person that I am, this suited me very much but I expect others would find it off putting. I also find that it lingers for a little while once having been applied, which is quite unusual in a lip product.

I don't find this to be a particularly moisturising product, and it really highlights any dry or flaky areas on the lips. It leaves quite a nice finish - not too glossy, not too matte - and lasts for a decent amount of time, leaving a slight stain behind after having worn off. It does sink into lines on the lips leaving highly pigmented deposits of color in strange patterns...not the most appealing look. This can easily be fixed with the application of a lip balm prior to wearing it.

I really, really love the shade of this lipstick and find it to brighten my day when I wear it. The beautiful vibrancy of it really adds to whatever you are wearing, but isn't too crazy for regular wear. For those who are perhaps scared of colour, this would be a good shade to experiment with.

I really love this lipstick, and if I was to find more shades within this range that I liked, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase them. I give it 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"What do you think?" Wednesdays - Make-up snobbery

Cheap make-up was something that I always, always fell for. By fell for, I mean as soon as I saw the $3-$6 dollar price tag, you could literally be guaranteed that it was in my hands ready for purchase. Over time I found a common relationship between the price and the quality of the product - the lower the price, the lower the quality.

There are of course, exceptions to this rule, with particular products from brands like Essence, (and even BYS to a point) that are products I use on a daily basis, love, and only have to fork out $5 or so to get hold of it, but in general, most of the time I have found that you get what you pay for and that is that.

When I woke up and realised my mistake, I did a turn in the opposite direction and found myself overlooking anything that was suspiciously low, dismissing it as complete rubbish that I didn't need. The didn't need part was certainly true, but as for it being complete rubbish, sometimes I was wrong.

There are gems out there that you can pick up for next to nothing, but they are difficult to find and don't happen all that often.

I know many people who only consider purchasing makeup with a somewhat impressive price tag, and I can kind of understand that - you feel like you can be guaranteed quality and that you can trust the product itself - what is in it, where it has been made etc. I do feel a little sorry for people like this though, because they miss out on all the cool 'drugstore' brands like Face of Australia, Australis and Rimmel, preferring to go for the significantly more expensive and understandably better quality brands like Clinique and Estee Lauder. What they don't realise is that whilst they may have a makeup collection full of products I am ridiculously jealous over (Nars and MAC are products I only dream about!), I am having all the fun with FOA lip crayons and Rimmel Nail polishes that are still lovely products that only cost me a fraction of the price.

So when it comes down to it, I can understand why some only trust the really high end brands, and whilst I personally think that they are missing out, I kind of get it, but here is the part I don't get:

 I know some people who openly, and proudly admit that they never purchase anything on sale. What?!

Sales are my life! I can go a whole year desperately wanting a product but vowing to only purchase it when it goes on sale. I struggle to buy things when I know that within one or two months I could get it cheaper. The way I see it, picking up things on sale means that you still get good quality products, but you can buy more things with the same amount of money! Who wouldn't like that? I pride myself on being a wonderful bargain spotter.

But some people are different to me and think it is almost, dare I say it...shameful. It's almost as if they have to prove to both themselves and everyone else that they can afford it full priced, or that they only ever purchase the best things. I will never understand how a sale can be frowned upon because for me they are about the greatest things that exist and I will forever hunt through grotty bargain bins to find that perfect lipstick half price.

What do you think about all of this? Are you suspicious of cheap makeup in general? Do you look down on sales or are you like me and think they are heaven? Be sure to vote in the poll on the right hand side and leave comments regarding the matter!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Toni and Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray - The quest for curly hair

It is no secret that we all want what we do not have, especially when it comes to hair. It is practically a law that those blessed with curly hair want it straight, and those with long straight locks (like myself) make it their mission to get it curly at all costs. Before you all ask, I have tried curling wands before (every friend and their dog has begged for a shot at curling my hair!) but the curls last approximately half and hour to one hour and they are limp and hideous. I wish I was exaggerating.

It seems like I have always been on a quest to get curly hair, though after trying one too many ineffective sprays/gels/insert other fancy word here, I couldn't see the point in spending money on such things any longer. I went a while, accepting that straight hair was all that I could wish for, until I spotted this little beauty.

I literally could not resist it. I went home and googled several million reviews on the product, and they were actually quite varied. Some claimed it was the most amazing spray they had ever come across - others not so much. I saw it for about $12 in Coles so I went for it. Curly hair, here I come!

Unfortunately, as is to be expected, I didn't get my dream hair. No, there was no magical transformation where I woke up sporting gorgeous voluminous curls, instead I found myself with straight hair, a little more limp and certainly stickier than before.

Despite this little disappointing episode, I decided to continue pursuing my dream hair, giving the product a little assistance. I left my hair in a damp braid overnight and in the morning applied the spray, scrunching and twirling my hair accordingly. It looked awesome...

For about two hours. This is better than past experiences I have had, I will say that, but two hours really doesn't fulfill my perfect-hair desire.

Moving on...I love the packaging of this product. The bottle is this strange texture with glossy print, very much my taste. The spray smells awesome but does leave my hair feeling sticky.

The pump isn't the greatest I have ever come across - it gets jammed and the spray comes out in a gloopy sort of fashion as opposed to an even, fine spray.

All up, this spray really didn't do much for me, even though I desperately wanted it to. I give it 4 out of 10.
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