I ended up buying:
- Essie Cocktail Bling (RRP $16.95, sale price $10.17)
- Australis K-Pop (backup of my existing bottle, rant on this later) (RRP $4.95, sale price $2.97)
- Australis Velourlips Matte Lip Cream in Hon-o-loo-loo (RRP $9.95, sale price $5.97)
- Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in In With Coral (RRP $9.95, sale price $5.97)
- Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Fuchsia Desire (RRP $9.95, sale price $5.97)
- Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Berry Much (RRP $9.95, sale price $5.97)
- Maybelline Express Nail Polish Remover (RRP $9.95, sale price $5.97)
- Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Lovely Pink (RRP $21.95, sale price $13.17)
- Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Nude Mauve (RRP $21.95, sale price $13.17)
- Essence Good Girl Bad Girl Blush in Good Girls Wear Peach (RRP $5.10, sale price $3.06)
Yikes. I didn't buy this all in one go but in a few separate trips across two days, so it all adds up in the end. I honestly could've done without the lip products (or maybe just one Maybelline lip crayon, rather than three) and probably could've skipped Australis K-Pop and Max Factor Nude Mauve. Had I only purchased the products I'm genuinely happy with (Essie nail polish, Essence blush, Maybelline nail polish remover pot and Max Factor Lovely Pink), the total would've been a much more reasonable $32.37.
I was hesitant to purchase this Essence Good Girl Bad Girl Blush in Good Girls Wear Peach (contender for worse shade name ever), since I'd already by this stage splurged on two of the new Max Factor blushes and didn't want to further clog up my blush collection with a super cheap addition that seemed fairly generic. But two things swayed me: 1) It was $3.06, people. I could forgo my daily coffee and buy this instead. 2) There wasn't a tester available, and considering it's limited edition, I didn't want to risk letting it go just in case it really was something special.
I'm glad I bought this because it's an amazing blush for the price. The thick, sturdy plastic packaging reminds me of the Clinique Cheek Pops, and the warm, soft, pinky-peach colour is flattering on the skin. It's not too intensely pigmented that you need an ultra light hand, but it can be built up to quite a strong colour. The most remarkable aspect of Good Girls Wear Peach is that the shimmer in it isn't silvery or frosty, but a very fine, pearly pink. My only complaint is that the texture has a tendency to cling onto dry patches, so it works best for smooth, properly exfoliated/moisturised skin.
I wasn't intending to buy these Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes at all, since baked blushes aren't really my thing and Max Factor as a brand hasn't excited me in a long time (if ever, to be honest). I do really like their Masterpiece Max mascara, but that's pretty much where it ends. A few years ago, one of their cream blushes in Soft Copper also interested me (mainly because it was a favourite of Zoe Foster, and featured in one of Queen Eldridge's videos), but it was always way too expensive to justify buying.
I was looking through Instagram at people's Priceline hauls and a recurring sight was the Creme Puff Blushes. I figured if my fellow beauty junkies were putting them in their shopping baskets, I needed to at least check them out in person. There's only 4 shades available in Australia, as opposed to 6 in the UK (we're missing Alluring Rose and Gorgeous Berries). I swatched all 4 on my hand and Lovely Pink was the one that appealed to me the most. Whacking a bit on my cheeks, I immediately liked the glowy, youthful, healthy effect it gave, so I bought it. That night, I was Googling the Creme Puff Blushes and reading all about how they've taken the UK beauty world by storm and have been touted as Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush dupes. Fully hooked now, I was determined to buy Nude Mauve the following day. I luckily managed to nab the last one at the Priceline I visited.
l-r: Max Factor Nude Mauve, Max Factor Lovely Pink, Essence Good Girls Wear Peach
Bottom to top: Max Factor Nude Mauve, Max Factor Lovely Pink, Essence Good Girls Wear Peach
I was surprised at how similar Max Factor Lovely Pink and Essence Good Girls Wear Peach are. They're almost the same blush, except the Essence is peachier and the Max Factor is more of a light warm pink. The texture of the Max Factor is also superior, in that it applies and sits more smoothly on the skin (which you'd expect, given it's four times the price).
I'm not as into Nude Mauve as I hoped I'd be, mainly because it's a bit confusing as a colour. When swatched, I can definitely see slight purple tones, but it's more a mix of brown and peach with an illuminating pearl. I've read that it's similar to Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure and other hybrid sculpting/contouring and blush products, but it seems too soft in colour to be really effective. (The Charlotte Tilbury Powder and Sculpt Brush goes a long way towards creating the illusion of cheekbones though.) The lasting power of these Creme Puff Blushes also isn't anything spectacular.
Essie Cocktail Bling
I've wanted Cocktail Bling for a long time, so I was both surprised and happy to see it stocked at Priceline. This shade reminds me a lot of one of my favourite nail polish colours of all time, the long discontinued Sportsgirl Storm. I adore these moody, sophisticated purply-greys and I've been enjoying wearing Cocktail Bling on my nails for the past few days. The formula was hard to fault and it had a revamped wider, flatter brush reminiscent of the OPI brushes which made application a lot easier.
Before painting on Cocktail Bling, I removed OPI Last Friday Night with the Maybelline Express Remover (Maybelline's answer to Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover). Given it was 4 coats of glitter polish, I think it did a decent job. Not amazing, but we can't expect miracles. I anticipate it to fare much better with removing ordinary creme polishes. Tip: don't tilt the tub. There is liquid remover in it that isn't completely absorbed by the surrounding sponge which will spill out.
I also bought a backup bottle of my beloved Australis K-Pop (featured in my 2014 Favourites), only to discover it's not the same shade. This new bottle, with the same name and ostensibly the same colour, is noticeably darker. Fail! I painted the old K-Pop and new one side by side on my toenail and the difference was undeniable. Makes me question their nail polish quality control when there's no consistency between batches.
Top to bottom: Australis Hon-o-loo-loo, Maybelline In With Coral, Maybelline Fuchsia Desire, Maybelline Berry Much
Finally, the lip products. I will likely dedicate individual posts on the new Maybelline crayons I bought and my mini Australis Velourlips collection (hope it helps, Emma!), so I won't go into too much detail here. But basically, I don't need any more lip products.
I bought a NARS pencil sharpener recently, which I took as permission to go all out on the Maybelline lip pencils. I had tested a few when they were first released and already decided I liked the coral and fuchsia shades the best (oh so typical of me if we're talking brights). I also had to get Berry Much because anything that graces Lisa Eldridge's lips I immediately covet. Yep, I'm sad like that.
The formula of both the Velourlips and Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils is actually very good. I just can't appreciate them without berating myself for buying them unnecessarily.