November found me surprisingly enjoying quite a few products. I experienced something of a renaissance in my interest in eyeshadows (not that I ever lost it, just I could never be bothered), sparked by finally getting off my ass and washing my eye brushes en masse. Clean brushes suddenly opened up a new world of aiming to wear a different eyeshadow each day, rather than resorting to my automatic, lazy, go-to picks (Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, I'm looking at you). I also made a conscious effort to use up some of my existing products, particularly skin care. Adhering to a regular routine saw my skin reaping the benefits, and I've enjoyed a relatively blemish-free complexion this month (knock on wood).
Antipodes Organic Lime Leaf & Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
This free inclusion in the Daily Moisturise Kit I bought in January seemed like an afterthought, but when I misplaced my Maybelline Baby Lips in Relieving Menthol and couldn't be bothered to retrieve it, I decided then was the best time to crack open my untouched Antipodes lip balm. I didn't have any expectations of it, but found myself pleasantly surprised. While I rarely use up any lipsticks or lip glosses, I regularly finish lip balms, and this one is no exception. I've been consistently reaching for it this month, especially before bed, and sadly it's almost empty. I'm a fan of the fresh, lemony scent and how the somewhat dry, hard texture just melts when in contact with the lips, providing welcome hydration and nourishment.
MOR Tonka Bean Musk Body Butter
I've always considered body moisturisation to be a bit of a chore, but it's certainly made more tolerable depending on the product used. Enter this perfumed body butter from MOR. I pounced on the opportunity to pick this up from David Jones earlier in the year when it was on sale for $10 (down from $29.95) after loving my first experience with a MOR body butter (won from Sue's giveaway), Hibiscus Bloom. Tonka Bean Musk smells unlike anything I've tried and it's kind of addictive. It's powdery and floral but I also detect a little cocoa, vanilla and musk. It has a warmth, spiciness and creaminess. The official notes are bergamot, jasmine, lily of the valley, tonka bean and musk. The body butter is thick, rich and very moisturising, though it doesn't sink completely into the skin the way my Grown Mandarin and Rosemary Leaf Body Cream does.
Prestige My Blackest Lashes Intense Black Volume Mascara in Blackest Black (MLB-01)
This mascara has been the only one I've used this month after chucking out my CoverGirl LashBlast Volume and mini Benefit They're Real. At first, I found it to be too wet and a little smudgy, but I persevered and it dried up to become more manageable. It tends to smear on my lower lashes (which I prefer coating with Max Factor Masterpiece Max), but the fattish, many-bristled wand of the Prestige encourages what volume and length can be coaxed out of my measly upper lashes, while avoiding clumps.
Rimmel Glam'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow in Smokey Quartz (030)
Though this month involved two very luxe eyeshadow purchases, I was most satisfied with this affordable neutral option from Rimmel which I picked up during Priceline's second 40% off all cosmetics sale this year. I've debated whether to purchase Smokey Quartz for a while now given how utterly superfluous it seems (because, you know, I'm severely lacking any eyeshadows like it). But once I tried it on my lids, my questionable decision to buy it was vindicated. This is nice. Freakin' nice. It's the exact kind of purply, taupeish, browny satin shade I go for, laced with a silvery shimmer that's relatively fine and not overly metallic. Not too warm, not too cool. Mid-tone, making it an ideal all-over lid colour for the daytime, though you could definitely smoke it up for a more evening flavour. I had no issues with pigmentation or fallout and found the texture to be smooth and soft, if a touch powdery and crumbly, but nothing major.
Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely perfume
A perfume rediscovery this month which I thoroughly enjoyed spritzing on myself in the mornings before work. Celebrity fragrances can get a bad rap but this first effort from Sarah Jessica Parker has been reviewed well by critics. It's not hard to see why. Lovely is frequently described as a lighter, more polite version of Narciso Rodriguez For Her and the comparison is apt. I have both and I definitely prefer Lovely for the daytime as it's not as pungent and strong as For Her, which is more potent and sharp. I particularly like Lovely for more chilly, overcast weather as I find that's when the fragrance really shines on the skin. This is an elegant, quiet, clean and enveloping scent that's more refined and grown up than your usual candied, tropical juice "fruity-floral". Lasting power is better than average as well.
Pixi Glow Tonic Beauty Elixir
It's a little incredible to me I managed to pack this in my luggage from London after trekking around Europe for 3 weeks (there was some leakage on the surrounding tissue paper it was wrapped in, but nothing disastrous). The effort was well worth it. I have to say I wasn't brimming with enthusiasm the first few sporadic occasions I used it, but I discovered this is an exfoliating toner that shows results with regular, continued use over a prolonged period of time. Don't expect an overnight transformation as you might with something much stronger, like Alpha-H Liquid Gold. Using 3 pumps of Glow Tonic on a cotton puff all over my face after cleansing in the shower removes all last traces of makeup, and balances and softly polishes my skin without stripping or drying it. It preps the skin perfectly for moisturisers and serums that follow.
Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist
I had lukewarm feelings about this when I first purchased it, but after using it consistently at night after my Pixi Glow Tonic, I've officially come around. Yes, this is pricey stuff, but I can't help but love having and using it. The packaging is to die for and the orange blossom, spa-like scent is mild and refreshing. I spritz 3 pumps into my hand and press my palms onto my face after toning with Glow Tonic. The two together make my skin appear plump and hydrated, scrubbed and radiant, even before creams. My skin's texture looks to have improved — it's clearer, smoother and the spots have been kept at bay despite appalling, pimple-triggering lifestyle habits. Foundation seems to sit better on my skin as well, with less dry patches and cakiness.