Sunday, May 3, 2015

April Favourites

April involved more retail therapy and rain than usual. I had a couple of weeks off work but nowhere fun to go, so I shopped fairly liberally in lieu of taking a plane somewhere (and shopping there). I also took a weekend trip to Canberra to visit a friend, where we saw the James Turrell exhibit at the National Gallery of Australia (highly recommended, a very cool experience) and ate at a couple of fancyish places (Pod Food at Pialligo, Grazing at Gundaroo). Then the weather in Sydney decided to be crazy with flooding and severe storms. I even was allowed to go home early from work one day as a precaution, which is unprecedented. Makeup wise, I've been enjoying a mix of new and old products. Eyeshadow palettes in particular stole the show: one a rediscovery and the other a recent purchase I've finally made my mind up on — and it's love.

MUA Eyeshadow Palette in Heaven and Earth
I forget just how good this palette is since on a day-to-day basis, I reach more for my higher end neutral eyeshadow palettes. But this palette is basically everything you'd need in terms of satin/shimmery neutral shadows, at an incredibly affordable price point. There's an abundance of choice in terms of mid-tone, all-over lid shades, with some beautiful highlighting colours (the pinky pearlescent one, fourth from the left in the top row, is a stunner — and could easily double as a face highlight), and deeper, richer shades to darken and add dimension. The overall colour selection is warm, with a mix of luscious chocolate browns, complex taupes, golds, coppers and bronzes. Pigmentation is on point and most of the shades have minimal fall out. Full review with swatches here.

l-r: Cocoa Chili, Rum Raisin, Bon Bon, Caramel

l-r: Peanut Butter, Butter Pecan, Pink Sugar, Nougat

Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette
It took me a while to warm up to this palette (this mostly negative tweet back in February sums up my initial thoughts), but now I'm completely won over by it. I like it just as much as the original Chocolate Bar Palette, if not more. I've been favouring very warm eyeshadow looks recently and the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar has been perfect. I have so many favourite shades that I'd be listing most of the colours in the palette: Peanut Butter, Cocoa Chili, Rum Raisin, Bon Bon, Caramel, Nougat. The shimmery highlight shade Butter Pecan is an absolutely gorgeous face highlight (thanks to emilynoel83 for the tip) and Pink Sugar, the multifaceted sparkly glitter top coat, glimmers so beautifully when it's placed in the inner third of the eye. All the colours seem to work harmoniously despite so much choice in the shade selection, from light to dark, shimmers, mattes and glitters. My only gripe is the darker shades like Hot Fudge, Frosting and Cocoa Chili do have a lot of fall out because of the soft texture of the shadows, so be mindful to tap off any excess from the brush before applying them. Swatches of each of the shades here.

IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush #225 + Guerlain Météorites Compact Light-Revealing Powder in Medium (03)
The Complexion Powder Brush was another item I asked my friend to buy me when she was in the States, since I figured if she was going to Ulta to pick up the Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Flat Contour Brush, she might as well buy this one in the same trip. I have to seize my chance to grab as many Ulta exclusives as possible after all. If it wasn't for Tiffany, I wouldn't even have known of the existence of this brush. At first, I wasn't 100% convinced whether it was worth $36 USD (about $50 with tax), especially with its apparent similarity to the Real Techniques Blush Brush which is a quarter of the price at $8.99 USD. At $50, I expect a lot from a brush. Thankfully, after using it for a couple of weeks weeks, it's become one of my favourite brushes — certainly my preferred powder brush. It's ultra, ultra soft, but still fairly dense in terms of bristles, so it distributes product evenly but finely. The tapered shape is perfect to get around the curves of the face, but it's still large enough so product isn't concentrated on any particular area. I've been pairing it with the Guerlain Météorites Compact Light-Revealing Powder to set my foundation in the mornings and add that extra bit of glow to my makeup. The Guerlain powder gives the skin a subtle, largely undetectable boost of ethereal luminosity which surprisingly lasts almost all day.

Girlz Only Haircare Dry Shampoo XXL Volume-Plus
I bought this on the recommendation of a friend who swears by it. At $2.50 (2 for $5 at Target), it was worth testing out. Now I'm definitely looking to restock. Considering it's 3-4 times cheaper than the two other dry shampoos I use, Batiste and Klorane, this is a gem of a find. Firstly, I like that I can spray it liberally but it doesn't weigh down my hair or make it feel like there's a tonne of product in it. It doesn't come out like a fire extinguisher the way my Batiste and Klorane do, rather, the spray seems finer and the product less detectable (it won't leave your hair looking like you just poured talcum powder all over it). It requires a bit of building up in that I usually spray down the middle, then part my hair to each side and spray, then spray a section at the back of my hair, then one or two spritzes closer to my hairline. I feel like I use a lot more product than with my Klorane or Batiste, but unlike those two brands, the can doesn't feel a quarter emptied after each use. In fact, I've used it twice a week for several weeks now, and it still feels about half full. Each use prevents me from having to wash my hair for another 1-2 days, keeps oiliness to acceptable standards and injects some fresh volume into greasy, limp locks. It's powerfully scented with some nondescript fruity sweet fragrance, but it fades quickly and isn't offensive-smelling.

Max Factor Xperience Volumising Mascara
This was a freebie in some beauty goody bag that I've been saving for a while now, and I finally cracked it open this month. I'm pretty sure this is the exact same as the Masterpiece Max mascara, one of my all-time favourites. Max Factor mascaras are seriously underrated. What I like most about it is that it manages to really catch onto every lash and coat it, while maintaining separation and avoiding clumping. It's a very defining mascara, while still ticking all the boxes in terms of darkening, lengthening and voluminising. A solid all-rounder. It's also brilliant for the lower lashes and doesn't smudge or flake off during the day.

Maybelline Rose Redefined

Maybelline Color Sensational Color Elixir in Rose Redefined (090)
I previously dismissed this shade as disappointingly ho-hum, but this past month, I've really enjoyed popping this in the makeup bag and applying it during the day. It's actually quite a pretty, face-brightening, medium warm pink that's so easy to throw on. A very accessible, non-intimidating, everyday colour that I imagine would be flattering on most skin tones. You can wear it relatively sheer for just a wash of glossy pink, or built up for a stronger lacquered lip. The texture is ultra cushiony and comfortable on the lips. It's plush and moisturising without being sticky or gloopy in any way. Plus, it has a subtly sweet caramel/vanilla scent.


  1. I love that you use so many pictures! xxx

  2. Love the look of that brush. Wish we could get IT Cosmetics in the Uk. xx

  3. I use Batiste at the moment but I don't know if it works as well as it's supposed to. My hair does feel less greasy but not wow, you know? So are dry shampoos just supposed to remove about half the grease and you have to wash your hair at the end of the day anyway? Or can you last two days with spraying your hair once with dry shampoo?

    1. I use mine in between washes - so normally I wash my hair at night, sleep with it tied up and partially wet, then last 2 whole days without washing it, and use dry shampoo liberally on the 3rd day after washing it. This then keeps the grease at bay for minimally one more day, but if I tie my hair up in a ponytail and don't mind it looks a little bit gross (but not overly oily or anything, just not its best condition), I can go another day. Basically in one week, I'll wash my hair Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday leave it, dry shampoo on Wednesday morning, and then wash that night or Thursday night.

  4. I have a couple of It Cosmetics brushes and they are soooooo soft and good quality. I am still contemplating on whether to get the original chocolate or the semi-sweet one. I like some in the first one and a couple in the new one. Wishful thinking would be they would combine a few and come up with the third. I am totally addicted to the chocolate-scented goodies.

  5. I have yet to get my hands on the Too Faced Semi-Sweet palette...although I might leave it alone for a while because of the new The balm palette - which has more tempting shades.

    That brush is quite nice! I have a love-hate relationship with the one I own from Zoeva...
    And that dry shampoo looks quite good! I've been experiencing with Bumble&bumble powder but I wanted something that I can more easily use in the morning before school

    Take care*

  6. I have been stuck wondering whether I like either of the Chocolate Bars (I think I would opt for the original) but some of the swatches you did look very nice. Butter Pecan and Pink Sugar are among my favourite of the swatches.

    Thank you for sharing x

  7. Great favorites! I too have the Heaven and Earth palette and for what it costs it's seriously awesome! I also absolutely loved the look of the shades you swatched from the chocolate bar palette! I've seen it in person but it looks 'eh' to me and haven't given it a second thought! However swatches are beginning to get me all intrigued!

  8. I can see you used your Semi Sweet palette a lot ;) I've got the regular Chocolate bar, last month I really ingored it but I used it all the time before that! Must pick it up again :D x

    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

  9. Love the look of Rose Redefined, so pretty!
    Maddy, xo // UNSTITCHEDD

  10. I already have the Too Faced chocolate bar pallete, but I think I'm going to need this semi sweet one as well! It's just gorgeous!

  11. I felt exactly the same about Rose Redefined! At first disappointed but kept reaching for it as it was so easy to swipe on and go.

  12. That powder brush looks amazing! Great favourites :)

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  13. I'm curious about the Girlz Only dry shampoo now! I'll have a look. I'm just about finished Lush No Drought, which was good bit will be $13.50 for a repurchase.
    That It Cosmetics brush costs so much for a not-branded brand! Glad it's worth it! The Guerlain compact is soooo pretty. And so is the Semi Sweet palette. The delicious names alone almost make it worth buying. Almost...
    Sounds like you still had fun in your time off! Sometimes staycations are just what you need. 😉

  14. The rain definitely must have come up to QLD from Sydney haha, we had a couple of days of TORRENTIAL downpour. Not fun walking through the city where you may as well not have an umbrella with dat wind, haha :P Lovely faves though! I remember Girlz Only was the first dry shampoo I used because of the price, I wasn't so impressed but the XXL version sounds nice!

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

  15. I thought long and hard about the Semi Sweet palette but just feel like it is still too warm for me - Rum Raisin looks like a killer shade though, and that keeps the possibility of me owning this palette one day open...

  16. Omg those swatches!!!! You make me want to get the Semi Sweet palette now :( Rum Raisin and Caramel looks amazing!

    Nhi | Miss Blushaholic

  17. I love the Maybelline Color Exilirs! I own Rose Redefined and three other colours :)

    Kate xo //

  18. I have similar MUA palette and I also tent to forget it on and every day basis ;) But how nice it feels to discover it again and again, usually once a month or two ;p
    If you'd like you could check out my new blog - I'd be honored ;)

  19. MUA Heaven and Earth was my favourite thing this time last year :) I must dig it out again! xx

    Magpie Jasmine

  20. I absolutely do not need any more eyeshadow palettes but argh that Too Faced one just looks so beautiful! x

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

  21. Those shadow swatches are gorgeous!!!

  22. Oooh those palettes look amazing :O
    Really lovely products :)

  23. I love that shade of the Color Elixir! And I agree, Max Factor mascaras are underrated! I enjoyed using the Xpress volumising until it dried out, but it's lasted me ages. And I have the Excess Volume one, which is amazing at volumising and is so black.

    Sheri | Behind The Frames

  24. Great post! I may have to try out the Maybelline gloss as I'm really into the natural pink lip look right now.


    Today's Beauty Obsession

  25. Those eyeshadow palettes look amazing!

    Andrea | Vellviti


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