Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ambient Lights

Evidently I have way too much time on my hands. I wanted to wear China Glaze Snow Globe properly and take extra measures to maximise wear time. I found these Sally Hansen base and top coat polishes tucked away in some bright orange bag under a chair in my room. They were freebies from more than a year ago as part of an amazing gift with purchase on Sally Hansen products at Priceline. Both were still in their original packaging, untouched. I figured now was as good a time as ever to start using them. I started with a coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Grip Fast Dry Base Coat. For my base colour, I applied a white pearly colour that I bought from Daiso, Winmax Nail French #7. To speed up the drying process, I followed with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat. Patiently waited, then painted another coat of the Winmax. Then finally to Snow Globe, where I layered on a very thick coat. Waited. Piled on more Snow Globe. And lastly, a final coat of Insta-Dri. It's a wonder it didn't all just smear off the second my nails touched something.

I've been loving Snow Globe. It reminds me of a glitter flakie polish but denser and more pronounced against the bare nail or a pale base colour. The iridescence is just a joy to glance at and inspect. The pastel flecks are subtle and not in-your-face like most of my glitter polishes. From a distance it's more of a gleam, especially with the slightly pink, milky white that I paired it with. The colours reflected off the nail are like facets of an opal, varying in intensity depending on the light. I'll definitely be looking to wear Snow Globe with other base colours, possibly with something darker next time for greater contrast. The one nail I painted to test out the nail polish when I first bought it chipped in a day, so hopefully the top coat I applied here will do its job. It's only been three days, but so far, so good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Visual Budget

My latest wishlist, collating a few items I've wanted for a while and some I've only recently come across. Of these, realistically the OPI is the only one I'd buy. The MAC stuff is way too expensive in Australia ($32 for an Eye Kohl, $41 for a LE blush?) and a cursory browse of eBay (a site I never visit) didn't yield the bargain basement prices and huge selection I was anticipating. I've been meaning to get the Korres Lip Butter in Mango and Quince, but can't justify spending $24 on the two of them when I already have Jasmine, Pomegranate and Wild Rose, and a bajillion other lip products I won't get through in the next decade.

1. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black 
I've tried Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen, Covergirl LineExact, Sportsgirl To the Point and Bourjois Liner Feutre, and I heard this Stila is one of the best.

2. MAC Powder Blush in Pink Cult 
I swatched this at a MAC counter on the weekend and just liked the shade, described as a "mid-tone dirty neutral pink". I don't have anything like it in my fairly limited blush collection. I'm wanting to experiment more with more natural looking, slightly brownish/neutral shades than my usual pinks and peaches.

3. Korres Lip Butter in Mango and Quince
Still obsessed with coral/orange and Quince is just so pretty. No more words need to be said about my devotion to these little pots of lip buttery goodness.

4. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed
Championed by Jen from From Head to Toe, I just wish I could find this cheaper than about $35 online. I've heard nonstop raves about these Tarte blushes and I'd probably love them, but that's too steep for a single blush. (Though, funnily, if you asked me to spend the same amount on food, I probably wouldn't hesitate.)

5. Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Cream Shadow in Gemstone
Spotted for $28 at Kit in Myer. It's purple, metallic and a cream eyeshadow. Tick, tick, tick. It also didn't budge when I tried to remove it with a tissue after swatching it on my wrist.

6. MAC Viva Glam Nicki Lipstick
I'm just drawn to this super bright pink. Though it probably looks clownish on me and I wouldn't be surprised if I already own something similar but just don't know it.

7. MAC Paint Pot in Painterly
Mainly because I was impressed by the creaminess and opacity of something so matte. An ideal eyeshadow base, a pot of this would last forever.

8. Deborah Lippmann Glitter in the Air
Or Revlon Whimsical (I'm still waiting for you), since I'm don't really fancy shelling out $25 for a nail polish.

9. MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy and Powersurge
Beautiful, ultra wearable metallic shades, perfect for defining the lower lashline.

10. OPI Dulce de Leche
Powerfully convinced this is the perfect pinkish nude after admiring it on a colleague's nails.

I realised after the collage was done that I forgot to include the Too Faced Powder Pouf brush, a ridiculously overpriced but super soft, gorgeous looking brush that I've lusted after for a few weeks. I'm such a sucker for pastel pink and furry things.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paddy's Market Mini Haul

I rarely visit Paddy's Market, but this Saturday I was reminded what a veritable treasure trove it is for discounted and discontinued makeup. Priceline (probably the store I frequent the most) is cleaner, more trustworthy and convenient, but Paddy's Markets has some exciting items and vastly cheaper prices. There's Revlon nail polish for $3. Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks from $6 (I had to resist buying Black Cherry and Berry Haute at that price), ColorBurst for $8 and all the discontinued Matte shades. Maybelline ColorSensational and L'Oréal lipsticks were around the same price. NYX eye and lip pencils for $3-$4. Revlon and Maybelline eyeshadows for $7-$10. The list goes on. Some items were definitely dodgy (the "NARS", "MAC" and "Benefit" stuff in particular), but I'm fairly confident the American drugstore goods were legit (though how they were sourced and whether they're half a decade old is another matter). I ended up buying three China Glaze nail polishes, one Revlon lipstick and a L'Oréal eyeshadow duo.

l-r: Techno, Stellar, Snow Globe

l-r: Stellar, Techno, Snow Globe

I've not seen China Glaze being sold in any physical Australian stores, so I was fairly excited to check out Paddy's Markets as I knew they were stocked at some stalls. I was specifically looking for Swing Baby but I couldn't find it. Instead, my eye was drawn to these sparkly/glittery shades on display and I had to have them all. I'm especially enamoured of the perfectly named Snow Globe, one of the most beautiful polishes I've come across. Iridescent glitter (turquoise, peridot, amber, peach, cornflower blue, lavender) in a clear base. Only problem was the one nail I painted chipped in a day.

I know I said I wouldn't buy another lipstick unless it was the perfect yellow-based pink or something truly special, but I managed to limit myself to one Revlon lipstick in a shade I've been meaning to buy for a while: Pink In the Afternoon. It looks like a rosy medium pink, but on my lips it's significantly warmer with slight coral tones. A pink lipstick that isn't purplish on my lips and actually warms up my face? It exists.

l-r: HiP duo, Suspect, YDK, Busted, Verve

I've heard positive feedback from the blogosphere about the L'Oréal HiP Metallic Shadow Duo eyeshadows and was thrilled to randomly come across the Electrified duo. It consists of a super shimmery cool taupe and a dark purple with a subtle plum sheen, two shades that could've come straight out of Urban Decay Naked2 (in terms of colour selection and quality). At first, I thought that the taupe would be similar to Suspect and the purple close to Busted, but when I swatched the colours alongside each other, the Naked2 shades were significantly warmer and more brown. In comparison, the taupe in Electrified almost has an olive tone. It's actually closest to L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Sahara Treasure (the HiP is a touch cooler, lighter and less gold). I searched high and low for Sahara Treasure and while I love the colour, I don't often reach for it because the pressed pigment is a little tricky. Electrified makes it easy. The best part? It was $5. Thank you Paddy's Markets.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nude and Gold

I've been itching to wear Revlon Starry Pink again since I bought it in early April, but this time around I intended to use it only as a top coat after first applying a pale pink base. To begin, I chose Revlon Cotton Candy (previously featured here), a more yellow and slightly darker pink than the sheer, cool-toned base in Starry Pink, and applied 2-3 coats. I layered two coats of Starry Pink over Cotton Candy to even out any bald spots and have the silver glitter sit more prominently on the surface (rather than be buried under multiple layers). To add some more glitz and contrast to the subdued silver and milky pink, I painted a last layer (which also doubled as a super reinforcing top coat) of my beloved Sportsgirl All That Glitters. You can't go wrong with a dusting of gold hex glitter to finish.

Excuse the short nails and dryness, my nails aren't in the best condition due to the ravages of constantly being painted, stripped, painted, stripped (and so the cycle goes). I often get sick of whatever's on my nails after a day or two, or the nail polish starts chipping and peeling which compels me to take it all off, but I've been quite content with this little mani of mine for about a week now. It's unassuming but also decorative enough for me to enjoy wearing it. I'm also convinced All That Glitters is some miracle top coat because I've experienced little to no wear and tear after several days.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Real Techniques Brushes

I've raved about them before, but like most beauty bloggers, I'm a huge fan of Real Techniques brushes. Recently, three new brushes were released and I snapped up two of them: the Expert Face Brush and the Setting Brush. As with my previous brush purchase (the Travel Essentials set), I have iHerb to thank for stocking the whole Real Techniques range at affordable US prices, with relatively quick and inexpensive shipping. I wish iHerb had been brought to my attention earlier, as it would've saved me from buying a whole heap of Real Techniques brushes at inflated prices from a local stockist late last year.

Top: Buffing Brush; Bottom: Expert Face Brush

l-r: Buffing Brush, Expert Face Brush

The Expert Face Brush is said to be very similar to the Buffing Brush from the Core Collection, except that the two are different in shape and the Expert Face Brush can be bought by itself. In the words of Samantha Chapman herself, the Expert Face Brush "works exactly the same as the Buffing Brush, so for all those that wanted the Buffing Brush on its own, this is a good alternative." Both are super soft and feel lovely on the skin. The coverage and finish is the same and both give a polished, airbrushed effect.

The Buffing Brush has a larger head, so it can apply product to a wider area of the face (namely the cheeks and forehead) with fewer strokes. The Buffing Brush is used in circular motions to blend and work foundation into the skin, whereas the Expert Face Brush is moved mainly in downward or sideways strokes. One advantage of the Expert Face Brush is that it's better at blending around the edges and corners of face, such as around the nose and mouth area. The more narrow shape assists in more precise application and is better for contouring using blush or bronzer.

Top: Contour Brush; Bottom: Setting Brush

l-r: Setting Brush, Contour Brush

Top: Setting Brush; Bottom: Multi Task Brush

l-r: Multi Task Brush, Setting Brush

I'm not really sure why I bought the Setting Brush. It was more out of curiosity than any envisaged practical use. At first I thought it would be like a mini Blush or Multi Task Brush, as it's another pink-coded brush and appears to be shaped similarly (albeit on a smaller scale), but it's more like an oversized eyeshadow brush (soft, somewhat loose and flat). The first thing that struck me about the Setting Brush is how small it is. The closest in size to it is the Contour Brush (from the Core Collection), though the Contour Brush is noticeably larger, thicker and firmer. The Setting Brush is way too big for eyeshadow, but too small for blush or bronzer. Its primary purpose is to set concealer under the eyes or to do some spot powdering over the face, two things I don't do regularly, if at all. It could also be used to apply highlighter, though I feel the Contour Brush would be a better choice.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Too Light

I've heard so many good things about Too Faced eyeshadow palettes and how they rivalled (or surpassed) the Urban Decay Naked Palettes, so naturally I had to have one. I managed to swatch the range of Too Faced palettes at a local department store (where these retail for $59.95, but I bought mine from Beauty Bay for about $35) and narrowed it down to a choice between the Naked Eye or Romantic Eye palette. I settled on Naked Eye because I thought it had more wearable, everyday neutrals with some of the cool, taupeish shades that I loved so much about Naked2.

To be perfectly honest, these eyeshadows don't thrill me. They're actually kind of disappointing. Even though they swatch beautifully, except for Unmentionables and Lap Dance (and I suppose Stiletto, but that is such a chalky, patchy matte black that I don't bother with it) they apply very lightly. I really have to pack on the shadows for them to show up, and even then, the colour is quite light on my eyelids or too similar to the natural colour of my skin that they don't produce much of an effect. I had high hopes for Birthday Suit and Pillow Talk to be flattering, easy-to-wear washes of colour over the lid, but they're just not dark enough to give me the depth and definition I need. Lap Dance is a gorgeous colour by itself, but it applies more like a cool silver than the complex taupe with purple and tan tones that I was after.

Not that I'll hit pan with any of these shadows, but three of the shades are more than twice the amount of the rest (2g compared with 0.9g). Considering that ivory and pale pink mattes aren't really up my alley and Birthday Suit barely shows up, it seems pointless and somewhat wasteful to have dedicated larger pans to those three shades specifically. I'd rather have a few more 0.9g shades and a wider shade selection.

My issues with Naked Eye could have more to do with my eye shape and skin tone than the quality and features of the eyeshadows themselves. However, I have to say that I don't find these shadows as pigmented as or better textured than the Urban Decay Naked palettes, or even my Sleek palettes. They're fairly close (e.g. Tease from Naked2 is similar to Like a Virgin in terms of texture and pigmentation, Satin Sheets is just as shimmery and vibrant as say, Chopper from Naked2), but I wouldn't say superior. I still prefer my Naked palettes because the colours work better on me and the eyeshadows are easier to apply. I really wanted to love Naked Eye, but it's just not for me. Maybe I would've rated Romantic Eye more highly, but after this underwhelming experience, I'm not exactly rushing out to confirm my suspicions.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Black Diamonds

Following Save Me, here's another OPI glitter from the Nicki Minaj collection, Metallic 4 Life. This is a black jelly base loaded with tiny silver square and larger hex glitter. On the face of it, it doesn't seem all that unique or interesting, but what makes this polish stand out is the sheer density of the glitter which almost overrides the black it's suspended in. The contrasting dark base makes the saturation of shiny silver glitter even more pronounced. The effect after 3-4 coats reminds me of a starry night sky. If you're looking for some added interest to your simple black polish, Metallic 4 Life has the bling angle covered.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lipstick Limit

These Maybelline ColorSensational lipsticks were a turning point in my lipstick habit. By that I mean after I bought them, I decided to myself that unless I found the perfect yellow-based pink lipstick for me, or came across a truly unique, special and (key word) flattering shade, I would not be buying any more lipstick in the foreseeable future. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with these lipsticks, but after purchasing them I just felt an acute sense of excess. There may be such a thing as too much lipstick.

l-r: Rosy Dream, Juicy Bubblegum, Mango Diamonds, Coral Crush

I bought three shades from The Shine range (Rosy Dream, Juicy Bubblegum and Mango Diamonds) plus a lipstick from the main ColorSensational range (Coral Crush). "The Shine" lipsticks smell like juicy fruit candy and are sheerer and glossier than the normal ColorSensational lipsticks.

Rosy Dream (109) Sheer, milky, blue-based pink with fine silver glitter. Not the best colour for me as I'm not pale enough to pull it off. This one seems to bleed into the lines of the lips and isn't as moisturising as the other two shades I bought from "The Shine" range. Because it's sheer, I sometimes layer this underneath other pink lipsticks to neutralise and lighten some of the natural pigmentation of my lips.

Juicy Bubblegum (140) Medium pink with violet tones. Typical that I'd be drawn to this shade when I have about 5 other lipsticks that are more or less identical (it's true, I swatched them). This insanity must stop.

Mango Diamonds (445) Vibrant orange-leaning coral. Has more of a red tone and is shinier than Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti, a shade that I thought it would be very close to. There's also fine diamond-like glitter that doesn't really show when applied to the lips (I only noticed after wiping the lipstick off my hand and inspecting under fluorescent lights).

Coral Crush (515) Bright (bordering on neon) coral red. Somewhat like a pinkish tomato red. One of those fun, summery lipsticks that can instantly brighten up the face. Much more pigmented and a tad more drying than the other three lipsticks, leaves a red stain when taken off.

I bought these when Priceline was having a buy one, get one free offer on all Maybelline lip products (making them $8.50 each). At first I was intending to buy only Juicy Bubblegum and Mango Diamonds, but the store I visited only had Juicy Bubblegum, so I ended up buying Coral Crush with it instead. On my second trip, I bought Mango Diamonds and kind of settled on Rosy Dream because no other colour particularly appealed to me. Basically, I ended up buying twice as much lipstick as I had initially intended, defeating the purpose of saving money in buying at half price. These are perfectly adequate lipsticks but by virtue of having too many similar shades, I find that I can't really enjoy them. They offer nothing new or markedly better than what I already have, so I regard them to be quite superfluous. At least I'm now encouraged to be much more discerning and selective when it comes to future lipstick purchases and not buy just for the sake of taking advantage of an attractive sale.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sweet Treat

I can't resist a freebie, especially when it involves a Revlon Lip Butter. Myer is currently running a Revlon gift with purchase promotion, where you can choose between two packs (each containing 5 full-sized products) if you spend $39.95 or more. I was primarily drawn to this GWP because it contains a couple of new products, namely a ColorStay Long Wear Nail Enamel and ColorStay 16 Hour Eyeshadow. I opted for the "Sweet treat" gift, which contained the nail polish in Café Pink, eyeshadow palette in Attitude, CustomEyes mascara in Blackest Black, Grow Luscious Lash Liner in Onyx, and most exciting of all, a Lip Butter in Pink Truffle. It all comes in a beige makeup bag which is roomy and functional.

I was very interested in trying out the new ColorStay 16 Hour eyeshadows to see how they compared with other Revlon eyeshadows that I have. I actually preferred the colours/pigmentation of the shadows in the Enchanted quad (part of the other "Intense treat" gift), but the inclusion of the Lip Butter in the "Sweet treat" meant I had to go with the Attitude palette. The palette consists of 3 matte shades, which I found to be very unusual for a "drugstore" product. There's a matte pale baby pink, cool greyish-lavender taupe (satin finish), a matte chocolate brown and a matte dark ash brown. It's something different for me, as I don't really wear mattes and I usually gravitate towards shimmery shades. I had high hopes for the second taupe colour, but I found it disappointingly light and lacking in pigmentation. Just from my first impressions, I don't really see any marked improvement in these ColorStay 16 Hour eyeshadows from previous Revlon eyeshadows, except for the fact there are more matte shades (which I must say are nicely pigmented and not too chalky).

The Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle was about 65% of the motivation of getting this gift pack (yes, I have far too many of the wretched things already, I know it's a problem). This was a shade I'd contemplated buying, so I'm glad it was included in the gift. It's a MLBB shade, a reddish-pinky-brown that can be built up or toned down in colour intensity. It gives my lips a ruddy, glossy look.

ColorStay Long Wear Nail Enamel in Café Pink is a true Barbie Pink. It's a distinctly yellow-based pink which I'm not sure flatters my skin stone. It's a fun colour to wear by itself, though I'm itching to add a glitter top coat like Starry Pink. In terms of the difference between the Classic and Top Speed nail polishes, the brush is stiffer, wider and shorter. I also found the formula to be slightly on the thick side, but drying time was reasonable and the polish does seem more chip resistant.

I haven't tried the CustomEyes mascara or the eyeliner yet, as I need to use up some existing products first. The "Intense treat" pack includes a Grow Luscious mascara, which I think is a superior mascara to CustomEyes (the wand is like a larger Maybelline Full 'N Soft). Instead of an eyeliner, the other gift includes a ColorStay LipLiner in Nude. Overall, I'm fairly pleased with the products included, though I'm not exactly enamoured with the nail polish colour and the eyeshadows could've impressed me more. But hey, there was a free Lip Butter in there, so all is forgiven.
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