Saturday, June 29, 2013

Priceline Skin Care Bag

I managed to give Priceline's Beauty Bag a miss earlier this year, but for the second year in a row, the skin care goodie bag proved to be hard to resist. Though I've only used a fraction of the items in last year's bag and given away at least half of the contents to family and friends, logic and moderation clearly weren't involved in my decision-making process. From 20 to 22 June, if you spend $60 or more on selected brands (including Dove, Aveeno, Nivea, Palmer's, Bioré, Avene, Sanctuary Spa, Formula 10.0.6 and Yes To), you get a veritable bounty of lotions, cleansers, scrubs and lip balms purportedly worth over $220. In light of my current elevated interest in skin care, I thought it would be a good opportunity to acquire new products I'd willingly pay for, while incidentally receiving a bucketload of freebies.

The most agonising part was figuring out what to buy to qualify for the gift. Somehow, I thought that browsing Priceline in my 30 minute lunch break was a good idea. I had about 5 minutes left and I still wasn't sure of what I'd picked out, and for a second I contemplated dropping everything and walking out the door, completely negating the 20 minutes I'd already spent looking through the aisles, picking up products, putting them down, and searching for reviews on my mobile. Finally, I settled on Dove Foaming Make Up Remover, Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra-Cleansing Mud Mask Orange + Bergamot, Sanctuary Spa Brightening Facial Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser and Sanctuary Spa Therapist's Secret Facial Oil.

The Dove Foaming Make Up Remover is a repurchase (I'm almost done with my second bottle now, and this would be the third). I find it's the strongest and most effective makeup remover that I have, short of a cleansing oil. When I want to really get the makeup off or if there's more makeup gunk than normal on my face, I'll use this as a first cleanse before my Dove Cleanser & Toner in One. It's also brilliant at getting rid of all traces of lipstick or eyeshadow from my arm after I've photographed swatches for the blog.

I was fairly sure I wanted to get the Sanctuary Spa Therapist's Secret Facial Oil, only because I'm a huge believer in face oils and Sanctuary Spa seemed to be the only participating brand that offered one (Sukin was excluded this year, and other brands stocked by Priceline like Grown, Trilogy or A'kin were sadly not part of the deal). I'm looking forward to using this in rotation with my four other face oils (yep, I'm obsessed).

The Sanctuary Spa Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser was really more for the novelty than anything else, given the resemblance in name to Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, a product I'd always been curious about but haven't had the chance to try. After one attempt at cleaning my face with the included muslin cloth, I gave up and have been using this in the shower as I would any cream cleanser. It has a very thick, creamy consistency and feels quite luxurious on, though it's also heavily scented which might be a turnoff for some.

Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra-Cleansing Mud Mask was purchased after being persuaded by unexpectedly good reviews while looking it up on my mobile as I was trying to pick a final product to buy. I used this on for the first time last weekend and boy, did it sting almost to an unbearable extent around my nose. It was all worth it however, after I followed up washing off the mask with my first Bioré pore strip in several months to deeply satisfying results. Chrissy Teigen knows what I'm talking about.

Like every single Priceline freebie bag, everything comes in a Models Prefer tote. After mock croc, snakeskin and leopard print versions, this time it was faux black patent leather. The bags are more of an afterthought and convenient vessel to lug around (or store) a heavy load — I don't think they're much of a pulling factor in and of themselves to buy $60 of products, especially since they're not exactly amazing quality.

What's inside:

Palmer's Daily Calming Facial Lotion
I'm on the lookout for a good new lotion after discovering my beloved Dove Essential Nutrients Protective Day Cream has seemingly been discontinued. I wanted to buy a few tubs with this promotion but it's disappeared from the shelves. Not sure how my skin will get along with the cocoa butter in the Palmer's, but we'll see.

Palmer's Twin Pack Lip Balm
I'm loyal to my Maybelline Baby Lips, but I wouldn't mind giving these a go.

Puretopia Smooth & Renew Gentle Exfoliating Face Scrub
I'll consider this a steep downgrade from the Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator I'm currently using, but who knows, I could be pleasantly surprised. At any rate, exfoliation is an unmissable part of any skin care routine and I have a feeling it'll be gentler than my St Ives Apricot Scrub.

Sanctuary Body Scrub
I think I'll be a while yet before I really get into body care, but this scrub does seem like one of the nicer products in the bag.

Nude by Nature Super Anti-oxidant Foaming Cleanser
I didn't even know this brand did skin care, but I'd be keen to see how this stacks up against my Dove Cleanser & Toner in One, and whether it does a decent job at removing makeup.

Vaseline Total Moisture Dry Skin Lotion
Still have my other Vaseline body lotion from last year's bag, which we can take as a pretty accurate predictor of whether I'll be using this one.

Dove Visible Beauty Revitalising Beauty Body Lotion
See above.

Nivea Lip Care Essential
I wish I had received the strawberry-flavoured one, because I am five.

Chapstick Ultra SPF30
Even more boring than my non-strawberry Nivea, but SPF is important and things.

Dermalex Adult Eczema Repair Cream (not pictured)
First product I was extremely keen to give away to a friend who might actually benefit from it.

Beauty Essentials Sorbolene Cream
Clearly the 2kg of body lotions in this bag weren't enough, so they threw in this one as well.

Formula 10.0.6 Overnight Success
I don't have a great track record of finishing up anything packaged in a sachet, but I may remember to give this a go if I start to breakout (I think they're meant to be small, circular spot-minimising patches?).

Bioré Steam Activated Cleanser
I really disliked the Bioré Clean Things Up Nourishing Gel Cleanser (which was anything but) in last year's bag, but hopefully I'll have a better experience with this one. Otherwise I'll resign myself to the fact the only relationship I have with Bioré is with their pore strips.

Skinvitals Hydraflex Face/Visage Mask
I still have the Skinvitals mask from last year's bag (this seems to be a recurring theme as I go down the list of products). It's unbelievable in the space of one year I haven't mustered up the will to use it. I'm not a fan of sheet masks in general (I much prefer to put product on my face and wash it off) and something about the packaging seems quite clinical and uninviting. But I really should get cracking with at least the old one.

Yes To Blueberries Travel Cleansing Towelettes
One of the standout items in the bag, though I was under the impression this would be a full pack like last year's 30-pack of Yes To Cucumber Facial Towelettes. The smaller size makes it more suited for travel, so I may bring this along to my next holiday.

Swisspers Cucumber Facial Cleansing Wipes
These look repackaged as I still have travel-sized packs of these wipes with slightly different packaging. Provided there's been no change to the actual product, I'm happy with the inclusion of these as they're my favourite cleansing wipes.

Dr Lewinn's Essential Bio Care Oil
A treatment oil said to be for dry skin and to minimise the appearance of stretch marks and scars. I don't really have those among my skin concerns, but I guess I could still use this in place of a body moisturiser ... or possibly on my face.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Eye Illuminator
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what this is. Is it makeup? Is it basically a moisturiser for the eye bags?

Avene Thermal Spring Water
Oh yes. Chuck one of these in here, and I'm sold. I have a huge can at home and a small one in my bag at all times. I don't care that I'm paying for water in a can, I love it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Enough to Drink

So, it finally happened. I think I'm (actually, properly, seriously) getting into skin care. I blame it on Cherie's recent purchase of Hydraluron and her linking me to the gospel of skin care God Caroline Hirons. I've had a cursory browse though Caroline's blog a few times in the past, but never really immersed myself in it. But now that my willingness to venture into skin care has increased considerably, sometime last week I found myself reading it well into the early hours of the morning. The more I read, the more concerned I became about the multitude of skin care sins I was supposedly committing. For one, the mineral oil in Nivea Soft (something of a hero product to me), only splashing my face with water in the mornings, putting my face under the hot shower at night, never using a washcloth, my reliance on foaming cleansers, not having an exfoliating toner in my routine (or any kind of toner for that matter), the list goes on.

In an effort to overhaul my skin care routine, in a short period of time I've purchased a lot of new stuff. It's still a work in progress and I confess I don't really know what I'm doing, but hopefully my skin will thank me for it later. The first and most exciting purchase was the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Not specifically recommended by Caroline (in fact, she's previously mentioned the high essential oils content may be an irritant for some), but I've seen it pop up on countless blogs and wanted a piece of the action.

It's winter in Australia and I noticed that my skin was becoming quite dry and flaky. Foundation wasn't sitting as nicely, especially around the edges of my nose. I needed a serious moisture boost and the Drink Up Intensive seemed to promise exactly that. It certainly wasn't cheap (I bought mine for $34 from Kit), but at least the tube was a relatively generous 100ml and due to the falling dollar, the price was basically the same as the UK (where this retails for £20).

The instructions suggest to use the mask "twice a week or as desired", massaging onto clean skin at bedtime and removing the excess with a tissue. I use it more as I would a rich moisturiser — it has a thick consistency but it sinks into the skin well enough that I don't need to remove any excess (or maybe I'm just not applying a thick enough layer?). It does leave the skin slightly sticky to touch, but nothing unbearable. I absolutely adore the fruity apricot/orange/rosewater scent, which I find both soothing and energising. It's probably my favourite aspect of using the mask. It really adheres to the skin overnight, so when I wake up in the morning and splash my face with water, I can still feel remnants of the product being washed off my face. I can't say that I wake up with visibly plumped, glowing skin, but I do think that it helps replenish and retain the skin's moisture overnight and gives you more hydrated skin the next morning.

The mask is said to contain a host of ingredients with the aim of quenching thirsty skin (Plant Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Apricot Kernel Oil), building up a moisture "reservoir" (Avocado Oil, Mango Butters) and preventing moisture loss (Japanese Seaweed).

Ingredients (I couldn't find a list anywhere online): water\aqua\eau; rosa damascena (rose) flower water, myrtus communis (myrtle) leaf water, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower water, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower water • glycerin • cetyl alcohol • glyceryl polymethacrylate • dimethicone • peg-75 • peg-8 • glycereth-26 • sorbitan stearate • citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower oil*, prunus amygdalus amara (bitter almond) kernel oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, cinnamomum camphora (shiu/camphor leaf) oil*, citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet orange) oil*, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil*, osmanthus fragrans (osmanthus absolute) flower extract, ribes nigrum (blackcurrant) seed extract, linalool, limonene • aloe barbadensis leaf extract • cladosiphon okamuranus extract • oryza sativa (rice) extract • avena sativa (oat) kernel extract • olea europaea (olive) fruit extract • triticum vulgare (wheat bran) extract • peg-100 stearate • sucrose** • citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel wax • panthenol • pantethine • cetyl ethylhexanoate • mangifera indica (mango) seed butter • prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil • persea gratissima (avocado) oil • butylene glycol • cetearyl alcohol • cocos nucifera (coconut) oil • punica granatum (pomegranate) sterols • tocopheryl acetate • oryzanol • bisabolol • caprylyl glycol • caffeine • hexylene glycol • sodium hyaluronate • dextrin • potassium carbomer • disodium edta • sodium dehydroacetate • phenoxyethanol
*essential oil
**organic sucrose (brown sugar)

Yes, I typed up that list from scratch, squinting to read the size 3 font at the back of the tube and doing my darndest to not misspell the gibberish scientific contents.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the addition of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask to my skin care cabinet. I've started to use some other products which also have helped to restore my skin's moisture levels, so at the moment I would use this mask at most twice a week. I can see this becoming a staple for winter, and for whenever my skin needs a good hydration hit (especially perfect the night before a long haul flight, as Chloé mentioned in her pre-flight skin care routine). The scent makes it an absolute pleasure to use.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mattes For Measure

Continuing on from my Revlon Super Lustrous (crème finish) and Revlon ColorBurst lipstick posts, I have this final installment featuring my collection of Revlon matte lipsticks. Nothing is more validating than when Queen Lisa Eldridge lists the Revlon matte lipsticks among her High Street/Drugstore Makeup Favourites. In her words, the lipsticks are "very wearable, not drying, comfortable to wear on the lips, long-lasting, and the colours have been really editorial." Matte lipsticks are notoriously drying and I find that the texture of these inconsistent in terms of how forgiving they are on the lips. I normally apply a thin layer of lip balm (Maybelline Baby Lips in Relieving Menthol) to prime my lips first for best results.

Sky Pink (012)
One of the very first lipsticks I bought when I started to delve deeper into makeup. I believe I even paid full price (!!), which was $21.95 (though to be fair, it was to redeem some gift with purchase, but still). This light, yellow-based pink is exactly the kind of shade I remain obsessed with, despite it usually not working for my sallow Asian complexion. I need flawless, pale skin to pull this off. The colour payoff isn't great, especially on my already pigmented lips. I found it emphasised lip lines and sat on top of my lips, rather than sinking in. I had to work the colour in with my fingers. It might be smoother and more hydrating with a gloss over the top.

Pink Pout (002)
Rumoured to be a dupe of MAC Snob (or even MAC Angel), Pink Pout is a cool mauve-pink. It's very similar in colour to Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Primrose, but I prefer the formulation of Primrose to Pink Pout. On my lips, it appears more like a muted, dusty pink that could almost pass as a nude. The texture and pigmentation were considerably better than Sky Pink — much creamier and melded into the lips better.

Smoked Peach (013)
Bit of a strange one. It's a retro, nudeish orange with almost a fluoro, burnt edge. Despite being a matte lipstick, it contains quite a noticeable silver pearl that I dislike. Overall, the colour just looks very unnatural against my skin tone, which is why I don't find myself reaching for it much, despite my preoccupation with coral/peach shades in general. I found it to be relatively drying and a bit chalky as well.

Mauve It Over (003)
Brownish rose colour, a bit too tan and dark on my lips to be a true MLBB shade. I would prefer if it were more rosy, perhaps a bit pinker, and lighter. Combined with the matte texture, I personally find the shade looks quite mature on me. I like fresher, juicier, more youthful shades. Still, this is a good pick for something work-appropriate and conservative. The formulation is one of the best from this matte line.

Pink About It (004)
Reddish, coral pink that's not too loud or bright. It perks up the face, but still remains more on the subdued side. There's a dustiness to it that prevents it from being super vivid and intense. Very similar to Sportsgirl Rosie Posie, also a matte lipstick, but Rosie Posie is lighter, brighter, more pink and less red. Like most brights, works best with minimal eyes and fresh, luminous skin.

Strawberry Suede (005)
Probably the only shade you really need from this line, and infamously discontinued. Of the six Revlon matte lipsticks I have, Strawberry Suede has the best pigmentation, the most vivid colour and applies the most smoothly to the lips. It happens to be one of my favourite reds. I find that orange-leaning reds like Strawberry Suede are more playful and summery than blue-based reds, which tend to be more dramatic and serious. The matte finish makes the bright colour seem more polished and gives the impression I put in much more effort to apply it than I did. With a slick of balm underneath, it appears to have a subtle sheen.

l-r: Sky Pink, Pink Pout, Smoked Peach, Mauve It Over, Pink About It, Strawberry Suede

l-r (top row to bottom): Sky Pink, Pink Pout, Smoked Peach, Mauve It Over, Pink About It, Strawberry Suede

The Revlon matte lipsticks are a bit hit and miss, but I still enjoy having Sky Pink in my collection (if only to look at) and Strawberry Suede is a must. I could probably do without Smoked Peach (not the most flattering shade on me) or Pink Pout (only because of its similarity to Primrose, which I prefer). Pink About It is a good pick for a bright that's not too in-your-face. Mauve It Over, despite being too brown and dark for me, is still worthwhile having as I feel it is a timeless neutral, especially for those with lips that aren't as naturally pigmented as mine.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Côte d'Azur Coat

I haven't been making as many nail polish posts as I used to, mainly because I find it easier just to snap a quick picture of whatever's on my nails with my phone and put it on Instagram. But I thought it was worth dedicating an entire post to possibly the most perfect baby blue polish I've encountered. I first laid eyes on L'Oréal Color Riche Le Vernis in French Riviera (601) paired with Deborah Lippmann Glitter in the Air on A Vain Woman. The combination was absolutely to die for. It wasn't until many months later I decided to try L'Oréal nail polishes for myself, so I purchased French Riviera, You Are Worth It (617) and Soft Chinchilla (622) — the latter very much enabled by Emma.

French Riviera is the blue that I've been looking for. Basically, a dupe of what I think Chanel Riva looks like. I have bought and tried so many similar hued light blue polishes, from Revlon Blue Lagoon to Essence Sleepy, and been largely underwhelmed or disappointed with them all. They all applied way too flat and dull on the nail, and always much darker than how the colour appeared in the bottle. I wanted something distinctly pale and airy, even a little desaturated, but definitely not a straightforward sky blue.

French Riviera has a very delicate, almost undetectable turquoise glass fleck that I can only see under large camera magnification. While there's a kind of purplish-blue gleam reflected in the bottle, it doesn't translate when applied to the nails. It really is more of a crème than anything else. The formula is superb, though this particular shade is very sheer. Opaque coverage requires at least 4 coats. The polish however is a breeze to apply, goes on very smoothly and evenly, and has an almost gel-like finish. The brush is much larger than I expected for such a small bottle. It's very long, wide and flat, with a rounded tip, which coats each nail with minimum strokes. The only downside is that you only get 5ml per bottle, which is why this the first nail polish since my beloved Sally Hansen Insta-Dri that I've actually repurchased because I ran out. Because the shade is sheer, a single bottle only lasts several applications before it becomes gloopy and difficult to use. Still, at $6.95 a pop, and not infrequently on sale, if you purchase 2 or 3 to make up your standard 10-15ml bottle of polish, it still works out to be around the same price or cheaper than full price Essie or OPI.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shop My Stash #2

My first Shop My Stash post was a few months ago and in all honesty, I haven't really been making much progress in that endeavour. Partly because of my unending acquisition of new products, partly because I tend to stick with the same few things over and over again. In the morning rush to get ready, I grab reliable products that I know will do their best to transform my barely-awake face into a slightly more presentable form. It's not often a time to start experimenting with new eyeshadow combinations or to start mixing my own bases. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't attempt to switch up my current product rotation with several items that could easily substitute for what I'm already using. I had a dig around my makeup stash and picked out a few things that I hope to pay more attention to and make a concerted effort to use.

l-r: Daylight (matte), Gaze (shimmer), Color Du Jour (metallic), Lezard (matte)

This Lancome Color Design Sensational Effects Eyeshadow quad was been overlooked and neglected for a very long time. I bought it from Chemist Warehouse a while ago as it was super cheap for a high end product and the colours seemed appealing enough. The shadows are good quality, very nicely textured and decently pigmented. Color Du Jour reminds me of Laura Mercier African Violet, but warmer and more red (it's said to be similar to MAC Trax). The tiny size and inbuilt mirror makes it ideal for travelling with, especially as there's a good mix of finishes and light/dark shades.

Sportsgirl Time to Shine Bronze Cosmetic Palette is an old favourite. I never touch the lip gloss included in it, but the eyeshadows really surprised me in terms of quality. Sportsgirl is a bit hit and miss with their cosmetics and they're not exactly renowned for putting out incredible eyeshadows, but the ones in the Bronze Palette are without a doubt the best I've tried from the brand (miles superior than the Work of Heart eyeshadow palette). I've previously used the last two shades so much that there's a considerable dent in both pans. I remember being really happy with the performance and look of these eyeshadows, so I'm looking forward to getting some wear out of them soon. It's times like these I wish I knew how to depot eyeshadows so I could throw away the rest of the palette that just unnecessarily takes up space.

l-r: Face of Australia Sundae, Australis Screen Siren, Models Prefer Brown & Dirty, Maybelline Tough as Taupe

I wish I could find a way to make Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe work, because something tells me that it does have its purpose and value, I just haven't been able to tap into it yet. I mean, it's a matte, neutral cream eyeshadow — that in itself is exciting. As a base, it does increase the vibrancy and longevity of powder eyeshadows it's paired with. It also has the potential to effect subtle changes to the finish or colour. As Lau and Carolyn suggested in my post on L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Tender Caramel, using a matte base like Tough as Taupe could be just the solution to tone down a super shimmery shade.

The Models Prefer Mineral Eyeshadow Duo in Brown & Dirty was something I purchased while trying to convince myself I didn't need Urban Decay Naked2 (needless to say, that plan backfired). The shadows aren't the most vibrant, richly pigmented or long-lasting, but the neutral colours and soft, satin finish are perfectly acceptable for a more low-key, daytime look. The peachy champagne gold and cool, slightly purplish, bark-brown taupe work well together.

In the blush department, I pulled out Australis Paparazzi Perfect High Definition Blush in Screen Siren. I honestly feel this blush is comparable in quality to MAC (though admittedly I don't have any MAC blushes — this is just from my experience swatching them in the store). It is super pigmented, finely milled, soft and blendable. This is a warm matte peach with some red tones, which makes it a bit tricky for me to apply without looking overdone or ruddy. I guess I'll just have to find the right brush and adopt a very light hand.

For lips, there's Face of Australia Sheer Gloss lip crayon in Sundae. This MLBB shade is extremely reminiscent of YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in 9 (Nude in Private). Back when Tiffany was tempting me with the YSL, I may even have placed a bit of Sundae on my hand and then headed to the shops to swatch Nude in Private next to it to compare. Seeing how similar they were side-by-side effectively put an end to that lemming, though I now have a new one for 19 (Fuchsia in Rage) thanks to Lisa Eldridge.

Speaking of YSL, my Touche Éclat barely ever gets used. It does make a powerful difference in terms of highlighting darker/discoloured areas of my face (including under the eyes), but not so much as a concealer for blemishes. I just never remember to use it because I'm reluctant and too time-poor to add another step to my base makeup after I've put on foundation. It's quite fiddly in that I have to be careful with the amount and placement, and sometimes I need to mix it with a tiny bit of moisturiser so it applies better to the skin. But maybe if I can be bothered to wake up a few minutes earlier one day, I'll give this pen a whirl.

Finally, we have the Clarins Toning Lotion with Camomile for normal or dry skin. This alcohol-free toner was in the unbelievably good value Renewing set that I mentioned I bought on Boxing Day in my January Favourites. I've seen similar value packs pop up at Myer and David Jones recently, though unfortunately none of them included a 30ml tube of the Multi-Active Night Youth Recovery Comfort Cream for Normal to Dry Skin that I'm now hooked on (only one had a 15ml tube which I thought was too small to warrant a purchase). I figured since I never use toner, I might as well try to regularly use this product and finish it up. I like that it's non-drying and doesn't leave my skin feeling tight or stripped of moisture, though I'd need to use it more consistently for a longer period of time to comment on any skin care benefits it has, if any.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Counting ColorBurst

I have no idea why Revlon discontinued their ColorBurst lipsticks. The formula is undoubtedly my favourite of the "drugstore" lipsticks I've tried. I find them to be very moisturising, weightless and comfortable on the lips. Most of the shades I have are on the light side and go on relatively sheer, making them ideal for a natural, understated lip for the daytime. The black quilted packaging, grown up shade selection and sophisticated formulation are all reminiscent of something I'd expect from a higher end brand.

Soft Nude (070)
My favourite nude lipstick. It's not too dark or light, not too pink or brown. There's just the right level of tan and peachy tones. I don't go for nude lips very often unless I'm wearing a heavy smoky eye, but I doubt I'll find anything else as perfect as Soft Nude, though Rimmel Nude Delight comes close.

Blush (035)
A very MLBB colour that came in the Priceline Beauty Bag last year. It's a light brownish rosy colour with a slight silver pearl that I wish wasn't there. I don't have many shades like this in my collection because of my immediate tendency to gravitate towards pinks, peaches, purples and berry shades. My lips are also naturally pigmented so something like Blush (which is basically my lips but a little bit darker and more brown) isn't terribly exciting unless I'm aiming for a more conservative, entirely neutral look.

Petal (096)
Neutral to slightly cool light pink with gold shimmer. Like Blush, this is pretty sheer so you need to really layer it for the colour to show through. I tend to be extremely averse to any kind of shimmer, glitter, frost or pearl in my lipsticks, but Petal feels and looks refined despite not being a crème. It's a nice option when you want a bit of pink on your lips that's not too cool, milky or bright.

Rose Nectar (028)
The most shimmery of the bunch, but the colour is one of my favourites in the ColorBurst range. As Cherie pointed out, Rose Nectar is very similar to Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait, especially in terms of the visible gold glitter. Rose Nectar is more of a light orange (with a sheerer base) compared with the darker pink of Peach Parfait. The gold glitter/white microshimmer is very noticeable, but the texture of the lipstick isn't gritty in any way. It's very smooth and glides on, though the sparkle may be a bit too much for some.

Soft Rose (040)
I ran out to the shops to track this down after reading this post by Jane comparing Soft Rose to Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle. My mother has this lipstick so I was familiar with it, but resisted purchasing one for myself. Soft Rose is a very classic lipstick shade but also feels quite modern. It's one of those universally flattering colours that would complement most skin tones. It's a neutral, muted rose with just the right amount of red and not too much brown. I find this shade to be decently pigmented (much more than the first four shades), such that anything more than one layer can be too dark for my liking.

Fuchsia (030)
My most recent ColorBurst lipstick acquisition, I felt I needed this after reading numerous reviews over the years describing Fuchsia as a dupe for MAC Girl About Town. They're probably not 100% identical (Girl About Town looks a touch brighter), but to me they're close enough to not warrant having both. The superb texture of these lipsticks really comes through in the more pigmented crème shades. This applies smoothly and evenly, even with multiple layers, and feels so comfortable and lightweight on the lips.

True Red (090)
One of the few (relatively speaking) red lipsticks I have, though in all honesty I barely touch it. It's not too orangey, nor is it too blue-based. It's not really a colour I'm excited to reach for, mainly because I'm not a huge fan of reds, and also because it's not bold or different enough to catch my attention. I find this to be a little bit sheer and it was slightly patchy when I tried to build up the pigmentation.

l-r: Soft Nude, Blush, Petal, Rose Nectar, Soft Rose, Fuchsia, True Red

l-r (top row, then bottom row): Soft Nude, Blush, Petal

l-r (top row, then bottom row): Rose Nectar, Soft Rose, Fuchsia, True Red

My lipstick collection is a reflection of my child-like preferences for novelty and trends (dominated by pastels, brights, darker shades), often without much consideration given to how flattering the colours are when worn. I feel like my ColorBurst lipsticks fill a void I otherwise would have neglected, by offering more grown up, easy-to-wear shades that lean on the conservative side. Except for the vivid Fuchsia or True Red (which I never wear), they're mainly work-appropriate, polished, relatively sheer but buildable colours that never draw too much attention to the lips, but provide a finishing wash of colour to tie in with the rest of your makeup.

Monday, June 10, 2013

All Boxed Up

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have won Ashley from Make Up Kismet's giveaway! The prize was a Stila Party in a Box set (containing an All Over Shimmer Powder in Kitten and a Lip Glaze also in Kitten), Annabelle eyeshadow crayons in Licoriche and Acaidasiac and a gel eyeliner in Skyline. Ashley included 3 Asian beauty masks: FaceQ Caviar and Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Mask, My Beauty Diary Earl Grey Tea & Macaron Sheet Mask and My Beauty Diary Chocolate Truffle Sheet Mask. She also generously threw in a couple of surprise goodies (Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 and Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Silent Treatment). The thoughtful way everything was packaged made me feel like I was receiving a hand-picked subscription beauty box.

The main prize was the Stila Party in a Box set, which I was excited to play around with since I'm a big fan of the brand. I've yet to try their iconic Kitten eyeshadow, but it seems like the All Over Shimmer Powder is more or less the same thing. You get a whopping 10.2g of product which should last an eternity. The powder itself is very smooth, soft and easy to blend — similar in texture to theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer. The colour is more distinctly peachy-pink than the champagne yellow of the Mary-Lou Manizer, but less copper than Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Crème in Rose Gold. I was fearing that the powder might be a touch too shimmery or frosty, but it's actually pleasantly restrained. I'm anticipating getting plenty of use out of this as an everyday face highlighter, though it also could function as an eyeshadow.

I also love the clear, twist-up brush applicator packaging of the Stila Lip Glaze which is both functional and eye-catching. The girly, summery Kitten is a sheer peachy bronze packed with gold shimmer that can be used alone or to dress up any nude or pink lipstick worn underneath. From my experience with the Stila Lip Glaze I have in Joy, these glosses are smooth, hydrating and super shiny, and while they're slightly on the thick and sticky side, I find them perfectly comfortable on the lips (just make sure to wear your hair up).

l-r: Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Crème in Rose Gold, Stila All Over Shimmer Powder in Kitten, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

I'm also looking forward to testing out the other goodies, especially as the Canadian drugstore brand Annabelle isn't available in Australia, but I've been intrigued by their products after reading several reviews on theNotice. The eyelid shade in Wet n Wild Silent Treatment is one of my favourite eyeshadows, so it's always handy to have a backup (not that I envisage using mine up in the next five years). A big thank you to Ashley for holding such a cool giveaway and for my prize!
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