Monday, December 31, 2012

Favourites from the Year that Was (2012) + A Small Giveaway

Hey all!!  Sorry, it's been a while.  I sort of got caught up with the festive season, but now I'm back!  I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and start to 2013.  I wanted to give you a glimpse of some of my Christmas gifts because they are sure to be the content of some upcoming posts!  I also wanted to share my 12 favourite beauty products from this past year. 

This Christmas I received a lot of really great gifts from family and friends.  I now have some more Benefit, Stila, and Mirenesse products which I can't wait to share with you in the coming weeks.

Benefit Goodies

Heaps of other Goodies

Now, onto my favourite products of 2012.  It was quite hard to narrow down all the wonderful products I have encountered and loved this year.  To be honest, this has been the first year I have every really been interested in beauty products, so I've learnt a lot about what works best for me.

Makeup Favourites of 2012

L to R: Benefit They're Real, MUA Pro-Brow, Benefit Sugarbomb, Mirenesse Magic Touch Foundation, L'Oreal Color Riche, Revlon Lipbutter in Tutti Frutti

I cannot express how much I adore Benefit's They're Real mascara.  It is by the far the best mascara I've tried.  I love how it lengthens and curls my lashes instantly!  See my review here.

The MUA Pro-Brow kit is a relatively new purchase from Black Friday.  I haven't been too concerned with my eyebrows before aside from the occasional pluck.  However, this (super affordable) product has made me realise how good my eyebrows can look haha.  I'll definitely be using this in the years to come. 

You all should know by now how much I love my Sugarbomb blush from Benefit.  It looks great on my skin and I cannot wait to experiment more with my new box o' powders!  See my review of Sugarbomb here

2012 has been a year of experimentation with foundation.  I find it so hard to find ones that match perfectly with my skin.  Often times I feel as though foundation make my skin look 'dirty.'  However, I have found some foundations that fit okay.  My favourite (that is affordable; I really like Lancome, but alas) has been Mirenesse's Magic Touch Foundation in Vanilla.  I ordered a travel size and then was lucky enough to get a full size in my December Beauty Box!  Score!  I only need a bit of this and often mix it with Benefit's That Gal primer to make it a bit lighter. 

I have loved a lot of nail polishes this year, so this was a really tough choice.  I thought of OPI's THe Living Daylights and Femme Fatale's A Tisket, A Tasket, but ultimately I used L'Oreal's Color Riche formulas the best.  You honestly don't really need a top coat with these babies!  See my review here.

My favourite lip product was also a tough choice.  I have been exposed to many lipsticks and glosses and balms that I used a lot.  In the end, I settled with Revlon's Lipbutters.  My most used shade is Tutti Frutti.  So good for summer.  

Hair and Skincare Favourites of 2012

L to R: Cedel Blow Dry Faster, ONE Skin System Renewal Cleanse, Benefit Refined Finish Facial Polish, The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Toner, Clinique DDMG, Kosmea Radiance 24/7 Youth Boost

My favourite hair product this year was definitely Cedel Blow Dry Faster.  It is remarkable how quickly your hair dries once you use this.  See review here.  A close runner-up was Tresemme's Split End Remedy Shampoo.

I know I said ages ago that I would be posting about my skincare regime and I have not forgotten!  The following products will be a preview.  I was never really concerned with skincare until the second half of this year.  Since then, I have tried a lot of brands and products.  My favourite cleanser is ONE Skin System Renewal Cleanser.  It's a cream cleanser, it smells divine and it leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.

I love exfoliating products.  I find that they feel like they're actually doing something whereas cleansers are so, you know, gentle.  My current favourite is Benefit's Refined Finish Facial Polish.  It has the perfect consistency in my opinion and leaves you skin looking bright.

 Toners have become a staple in my regime.  I've tried a few, but my favourite by far is The Body
 Shop's Seaweed Clarifying Toner.  It's amazing.  Plus, it has no alcohol in it!  And it leaves your skin feeling tingling fresh.

I'm quite picky when it comes to moisturisers and it seems often I'm too eager to dislike one rather than like it.  However, I feel in love with Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel the moment I used it.  It's geared towards Oily/Combination skin and it leaves your skin feeling soft.  My favourite part is that it also doesn't make my face red.  Most products turn my face red upon application, until they sink in, but this one doesn't at all.

Lust Have It Eco introduced me to rose-hip oil in the form of Kosmea's Radiance 24/7 Youth Boost.  It has definitely enhanced my skin since I've started using it. 

Now for a little Giveaway!  

I wanted to share some of my favourite products with you!  Included will be a Revlon Lipbutter in Strawberry Shortcake, a sample of Benefit Refined Finish Facial Polish and two bottles of your choice of L'oreal's Color Riche nail polish.  As a result of the nail polish, this giveaway will be restricted to Australian Residents only.  You must also be at least 18 years of age to participate.

L to R: Revlon Lipbutter in Strawberry Shortcake, L'oreal Color Riche Nail Polishes, Sample of Benefit Refined Finish Facial Polish

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Friday, December 21, 2012

NotD: Mint and Sparkles

I have a NotD for you all today. I used L'oreal's Color Riche in 602 Perle de Jade (see rave here). I truly do love this nail polish and recommend it to all. To add some sparkle, I used Rimmel's Disco Ball. I adore this combination.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Love for Femme Fatale

After being introduced to Femme Fatale through Kat's blog (check it out here, it's fantastic), I knew I had to order a few of their nail polishes. They also have samples of their other mineral products you can purchase. I highly recommend doing this before committing to a full size product.

I ordered three nail polishes: Winter Hyacinth, A Tisket, A Tasket and Star's Lament. I decided to get the smaller sizes in case I didn't end up loving them. I have only tried Winter Hyacinth so far and I loved it so much, I have already ordered the full size (however, it is horrid to remove). The other two are wrapped under the tree.

The formula is very sheer and this is four coats. You may choose to use a base coat to reduce these. With that said, I do love the layering effect you get when you continue adding layers. This nail polish has a beautiful combination of teal and fuchsia. The fuchsia and red glitter is awesome, but my favourite part is the inclusion of white diamonds and hexes.

In addition to the nail polishes, I also wanted to try their blush and eye shadow. I ordered samples of Archangel and Starcaller (both eye shadows) and Fire Bloom and Velvet Cupcake (both blushes). There were also surprise samples of Amber Eyes and Enchanted (both eye shadows). The samples come in plastic bags which can get a bit messy; however, there is a fair amount of product included.

I will start with the blushes, because I am far more obsessed with them than I am with eye shadow.  Femme Fatale has 12 different blushes to choose from and are quite unique in comparison to the blushes I currently possess.  In their descriptions, it gives recommendations for which skin types (i.e. fair, olive, dark, etc) the blush is best suited for.

L: Fire Bloom, Right: Velvet Cupcake

Fire Bloom:  This is a beautiful rose and coral blush.  It is buildable, which allows for versatility when wearing it.  It can look like a modest glow to a pretty dynamic look.  It has a lot of gold shimmer in it, so if you're not a fan of shimmer, this probably isn't for you.  

Velvet Cupcake:  I love this blush!  It's extremely different from anything I own and it is super fun!  It looks like it will be candy-like than it actually is.  It shows up as a bright pink on the cheeks.  I wore it to the Nicki Minaj concert (see here) because I thought it really fit the mood. :)  It doesn't have any noticeable shimmer, which I think it good considering its vibrancy.  I will be picking this up once my sample runs out.

Femme Fatale has a large range of eye shadows.  They have around 90 different shades available on their website.  I was quite surprised by their eye shadows. I ended up liking the free colours better than the ones I had chosen, which only reinforces the need to sample!

Indirect Sunlight: L to R: Archangel, Amber Eyes, Starcaller, Enchanted
Archangel:  Browsing the website, this was my favourite shade.  I love champagne-looking colours, but this one fell a bit flat.  It didn't look great on my skin and I think that is partly due to its translucent nature.  However, in direct sunlight, you can see the violet shimmer it has, which is pretty sweet.  In the end, I'm still undecided about this one.

Amber Eyes:  I didn't really give this one too much thought, but I am so happy that I received it!  It is my favourite of the four colours and reads peachy.  In direct sunlight, you can see some green and pink shimmer.  The green surprised me and I may purchase this when I run out of the sample.  I love how complex each of these eye shadows is.

Direct Sunlight: L to R: Archangel, Amber Eyes, Starcaller, Enchanted
Starcaller:  This one didn't do it for me.  I didn't look nice on my skin and I just wasn't impressed with it (perhaps, because I liked all the others better).  In sunlight, you can see some subtle pink shimmer, but it didn't do enough for me to like it.

Enchanted: Again, I hadn't really looked at this colour when I was placing my order, but wow!  I like it.  This is a dusky pink with a red/coral duochrome.  I'm not sure how often I would use this colour, but I'm definitely considering purchasing this one. 

Femme Fatale is an Australian small business. I love supporting local brands, especially those who are also Eco-friendly. On each sample it says if the products are vegan or not. Being a strict vegetarian (cheese is the only animal product in my diet. I am too selfish to give it up), this is very comforting. Definitely give them a try!

Check them out here: 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

OotD: Nicki Inspired

This past weekend I went to the Nicki Minaj concert.  I'm not the hugest fan of Nicki; it's not really my style of music.  With that said, it was pretty amazing.  Her concert was such a spectacle.  The set amazing.  The lighting amazing.  The special effects amazing.  It was a great night and the support acts offered plenty of opportunities to people watch.  I wanted to share my outfit, make-up and nails for the event!

My dress is from Modcloth.  I love its vibrant, primary colours.  Plus it has a bit of tulle underneath to fill it out on the bottom.
My shoes were from Target.  They're a great pair of navy wedges. 

The key features of my make-up were my bright, aqua eye liner and my bright cheeks.  After seeing Mishelle's post about the Australis 10 hour eye liner, I knew I had to get it!  I paired this with Gold Card and Pretty in Mink eyeshadow from Benefit's She's So Jetset kit and They're Real Mascara.  For my cheeks I used Femme Fatale's Velvet Cupcake.  Stay tuned for a more in-depth post.

For my nails, I had to use colours from the OPI Nicki Minaj collection!  I chose my two favourites from the collection, Fly and Save Me.  I have two coats of Fly with a coat of Save Me painted on top.   I really like the combination.

Have you been to any extravagant concerts lately?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oz Sale Haul: Revlon Edition

A few weeks ago (it seems like ages) I placed an impulsive order with Oz Sale since they had four or five make-up brands up for grabs (see the first order I received here).  My first order was for a bunch of Revlon products; however, it was the last to arrive.  The others all under my Christmas tree as I felt quite guilty in purchasing all of them.

I haven't had a chance to use most of these products, but I have tested them all to validate my spending.  Up until now, I've only bought one bottle of Revlon nail polish.  I really liked it, but for some reason, I just never purchased any others.  I chose these two colours because I don't have any purple nail polish and Royal Cloak looked pretty sweet (I'm not a big fan of purple).  Black with Envy is supposed to be a pretty close dupe for Chanel's Black Pearl and the swatches I have seen look fantastic.  I adore black nail polishes and this charcoal grey suits me just fine.

L to R: Royal Cloak and Black with Envy

To be honest, I haven't been a huge fan of eye shadows.  I tend to stick with neutrals and neutrals.  Lately, I have been trying to incorporate more colour into my small, but growing collection.  The third colour in this palette drew me in and I'm so glad I purchased it.  The palette is the Revlon Colorstay 12 Hour Eye Shadow in Lavender Meadow.  The formula is smooth and creamy with great pigmentation and reminded me how dry my other Revlon quad is (see post here).  I do believe this product has been discontinued, which explains why it was so cheap on Oz Sale; however, if you come across it, I would definitely pick it up.  The colours are beautiful.

Close up of the gorgeousness of these colours
Shades swatched from top to bottom
Now onto the lip products I purchased.  There were a lot of pretty cheap lip glosses and lip sticks and I didn't really know what to pick up.  So I decided to get whatever looked unique and colours that I don't already own. 

L to R: Colorburst in Rosegold and Liquid Lipstick in Grand Garnet

I don't own too many lip glosses because many I've tried tend to be thick and sticky, which I cannot stand.  I didn't look up any reviews of the two lip glosses I chose, I just took a chance.  (If I didn't like them, I was just going to send them to my mom :)  The first one I chose was Revlon Colorburst in Rosegold.  To start with, I really really like the packaging.  To me, this is a great nude.  It has the right amount of pink mixed in with nice bronze shade.  I wasn't sure if I would like the shimmer it has, but it is quite subtle unless in direct sunlight.  The formula is fairly thin, but it definitely leans towards that thick-ish consistency I'm not fond of; however, it is really smooth on my lips.  I really like it.

The other lip gloss I selected, ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Grand Garnet, isn't really a lip gloss, but rather liquid lipstick and that it truly is.  It lasts quite a long time and stained my arm when I swatched it (see swatches below).  First impression, wow!  It is super thin, super lightweight and super pigmented.  Plus, it dries super quickly, so be sure to fix any errors otherwise they will be there for a while.  The colour is a bright burgundy, but is not too bold for those who are weary of red lipstick.  Again, I'm very pleased with this 'gloss' as well.

L to R: Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti, Lip Butter in Cherry Tart, Moon Drops in Goldmist Bronze
The next products I chose were the Lip Butters.  I know, I am so behind on this trend.  I was totally never going to buy them at Australia prices so I had resigned myself to waiting.  However, when I saw them on Oz Sale, I decided to cave and get two, Tutti Frutti and Cherry Tart.  I knew I wanted Tutti Frutti because I love orange coloured lip products (so great for sumemr).  I debated for a while whether I wanted Cherry Tart or Candy Apple and I ended up doing eeny, meeny, miny, moe to decide.  (I've asked my family who are Stateside for Candy Apple.)

The other lipstick I chose was Revlon Moon Drops Frost in Goldmist Bronze.  I'm not entirely sure who named this lipstick, because I don't think it is anyway 'gold' or 'bronze.'  As you can see from the swatch, it is a fairly bright fuchsia, pink.  I think my favourite part about it is the smell.  It reminds me of my grandma's lipsticks and playing with them as a kid.

Swatches, L to R: Colorbust in Rosegold, Liquid Lipstick in Grand Garnet, Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti, Lip Butter in Cherry Tart and Moon Drops in Goldmist Bronze

Have you received any sweet hauls in the post or in-store?  Leave a link, I'd love to check them out!

Friday, December 7, 2012

November Empties

I know this is waaay late, but work still hasn't eased down, which is crazy.  I should be on cruise control at this stage.  So, this is a combined empties from October and November.  I didn't feel my October empties warranted a post on their own.

1.  Burberry 'The Beat' Eau de Toilette-- 

Description from the Burberry Website:
  • An intense and energetic scent with warm top notes of bergamot, cardamom, pink pepper and mandarin
  • Heart notes of Ceylon tea, iris and bluebell add a floral texture
  • White musk, vetiver and cedar wood give depth to this sensual fragrance
This is my favourite fragrance full stop.  I love what Burberry produces, but this is the best in my opinion.  With saying that, however, I am very inclined to purchase 'Body' by Burberry as well.  It's the closest a fragrance has come to overthrowing 'The Beat.'  I repurchased this before the bottle was empty.  I can't go without it.

2.  Natio Gentle Cleansing Wipes-- I purchased these to receive a GWP.  These wipes smell really nicely (green tea and chamomile), which I assume is why they're a part of Natio's Aromatherapy range.  They do an okay job of removing make-up, but do not get them near your eyes.  They will burn and irritate them.  As a result, I will not repurchase these.

3.  L'Oreal Studio Secrets Anti-Redness Primer-- I have been using this for years.  Having a strong Irish heritage, my skin is naturally red practically all the time.  Not a fantastic combination with my fair complexion.  However, this primer balances the redness wonderfully.  The formula is a bit runny, but its effects counter that.  I have already repurchased.  

4.  Witch Blemish Stick-- You may recall seeing this in my October favourites (found here).  I really do like this product; however, I really want a stronger product to get rid of those occasional ugly blemishes quickly.  I have repurchased this because it's good for the occasional 'normal' blemishes.

5.  Clearasil Ultra Overnight Scrub-- It seemed like I had this for ages!  I really like this scrub.  First of all, it is the kind of scrub I enjoy massaging into my face.  It has just the right amount of coarseness.  I'm not a fan of gentle scrubs.  This product did visibly clear up my skin.  Again, it's not a miracle product, but it's a good product.  I have decided to continue trying more scrubs before repurchasing this one.  I am currently using Witch Exfoliating Face Wash.  I'll review this soon, but I don't like it as much as the Clearasil one.

6.  Sranrom Body Wash in Awakening Vitality--

Description from the Bellabox website:
  • Extracts of of Aloe Vera sooth and moisturise your skin, while Cantella and Moringa add a perfect, invigorating complement. Your skin will truly feel vital from the effects of essential oils of lemongrass and kafir lime.
This body wash smells amazing!  My partner received it in his October Men's Bellobox (found here).  He loved it.  I loved it.  We repurchased it.  Once.  It's quite expensive ($22 for 200mL) for body wash.  However, if you can get past the cost and want to try an Eco friendly brand that has some amazing products, definitely give them a try.

7 and 8.  Klorane Gentle Shampoo with Oat Milk and Klorane Conditioner-- I received these in my October Bellabox (found here) and to be honest, I'm not that impressed.  The shampoo was far too runny for my tastes and I found the conditioner didn't really add anything extra in terms of moisture and shine to my hair.  I will not repurchase these.

9.  Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub-- I received this in a Bellabox Shop order.  I really really like this!  It's a different kind of scrub than what I'd typically use; it uses beads to do the exfoliating.  This scrub left my skin feeling cool and refreshed.  Similar to the sensation you get with you breath in deeply while eating a mint.  It's crazy cool.  I will be trying this out once my Witch scrub is finished.  

10.  Eco Minerals Flawless Mineral Foundation in Light Beige-- This was a sample I received from Eco Minerals.  I love local companies and especially those that take the environment and animals seriously (the vegetarian in me coming through).  This foundation provided a light coverage, leaving a natural look, which is exactly what I want in a foundation.  I have purchased a full size foundation, which came with a mineral blush, eye shadow and brush.  It's under my Christmas tree and I cannot wait to use it again!  Definitely give them a look.

I'm so happy I can now throw these out!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Favourites

Well another month is gone! This year is flying by and after this week, my job gets a whole lot easier, which will be a nice change in preparation for the holidays!

I discovered new products and rediscovered ones that had been neglected and deserved a mention.

My November Favourites
1. The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Toner-- This is the first alcohol-free toner I have tried and it is fantastic. I don't want to say too much right now, because I will be doing some skin care reviews very soon. My partner got this for me as an early Christmas present; he's so wonderful!

2. Mirenesse Velvet Lip Lift Moisture Shine in Shade 50-- I got this with Woman's Day and it is really nice. I am not usually a lip gloss person, but these are really good. They pack a lot of colour and don't feel sticky on your lips. I have quite a few Mirenesse products under my tree.

3. OPI 'Fly' from the Nicki Minaj Collection-- I love this colour and it reminds me of summer! The formula is really smooth and I am contemplating purchasing a full size bottle of this.  I did a NotD a while ago with it, which you can find here.

4. Bourjois Ultra Shine So Laque! in Magenta Show-- I received this in a GWP a while back, but wasn't too tempted to try it right away until I saw Sarah's post raving about it (find it here). It is fantastic!! The colour is pretty great as well. I have been wearing it all week.

5. Revlon Colorstay Eyeshadow in Delightful-- When it comes to eyeshadow, neutrals are my choice of colour. These eyeshadows aren't the best. They are not very creamy or smooth, especially compared to the Revlon eyeshadow I recently purchased. However, the colours fit me really well and I used this every time I decided to wear eye makeup this month.

6. Australis Ready Set Go Finishing Powder in True Translucent-- I really like this finishing powder. It sets my make up quite nicely and I like how it doesn't add any additional colour to my face. It is definitely worth a look and it's pretty cheap.

7. Benefit Sugarbomb Blush-- See my review here. This is so so good.

What were your faves this month?