Monday, March 30, 2015

What ... No Eyeshadow?

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Priceline held another one of their 40% off sales. These seem to be rolling around with increased regularity (though they have separate sales for skin care, cosmetics and hair care), so the buzz wasn't as frenzied as the first time a couple of years ago. That didn't stop me from buying more than ever. The density of Priceline stores, especially in the city, was inescapable. Even if I planned to visit just one, I'd find a better-stocked shop just around the corner with new treats to be tempted by.

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)

Total: $72.39

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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cult Red

In my last MAC lipstick post, Cherie came close to guessing which lipstick I picked alongside Peach Blossom. The only clue I left was that it was a classic. She mentioned Russian Red, Ruby Woo and Morange fit that bill, but that I don't usually go for post box reds. Well, it came as a surprise even to me that I chose something other than pink, but I felt Ruby Woo was the one MAC lipstick no lipstick lover could do without. Cult products are cult products for a reason, right?

MAC Ruby Woo

MAC Ruby Woo is certainly striking, but I have serious doubts when I'd ever wear it. It photographs more orange-toned/warm than how it looks in real life. It's definitely blue-based, but not too cherry red. It's darker than anticipated, bordering on vampy. It reminds me of the Memoirs of a Geisha book cover (the tie-in with the movie adaptation) more than anything. This might be an odd thing to say, but I find it's more flattering on someone in photos than in person.

What makes Ruby Woo remarkable is the intense pigmentation and ultra matteness of it. It's unlike anything I've experienced in a lipstick. It's completely devoid of any shine and is the kind of drying that makes it a minor struggle to apply straight from the bullet. There's quite a bit of resistance and tugging when you're dragging it across the surface of the lips. I had to utilise all my years of lipstick application to get it on without looking a total mess. This one would probably look far more polished with a lip liner, but I neither have a matching lip liner nor the will to take that extra step.

I don't think I could ever love Ruby Woo because frankly, it looks strange on me. It's so bold and dramatic that it can look flat and stark. Though I have fairly full lips, the width of my mouth is not that much longer than the width of my nose when I'm not smiling. Dark colours tend to emphasise this and make my face look oddly proportioned (and my nose/visible nostrils more prominent, which is never a good thing). You can always make thin lips plumper with lip liner, but you can't really elongate a mouth.

l-r: MAC Ruby Woo, Revlon Cherry Tart, Revlon Cherries in the Snow, Revlon Strawberry Suede, Rimmel 11, Revlon True Red

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Cherry Tart is similar in colour to Ruby Woo, but pinker and of course, sheerer and glossier. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherries in the Snow is more cool-toned and pinker, almost fuchsia in comparison. Revlon Matte Lipstick in Strawberry Suede (my favourite red lipstick of all-time) is more orangey and retro-looking. Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in 11 is darker, vampier. I've never managed to get along with this lipstick and have basically never worn it, so after digging it out for this post, I promptly gave it away to a friend. Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in True Red is brighter, with a glossier finish.

Though I may never wear it in public, Ruby Woo still feels like one of those truly classic makeup (not just lipstick) products that every cosmetics enthusiast should have. In terms of opacity of colour, lasting power and an undeniably matte, transfer-proof finish, I can't imagine any lipstick beating it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Airy Gleam

I was over nail polish for a while (which may have been evident by the lack of nail polish posts — my last one was almost 6 months ago), but since I was given the OPI "The Iconic Four" minis set for my birthday earlier in the month, I've experienced a major resurgence in interest. A recent trip to Cosmo Cosmetics unearthed a sole, pristine bottle of OPI Last Friday Night, a limited edition polish from the Katy Perry collection all the way back in 2011. I already have all the polishes from that collaboration except for Last Friday Night, which I deliberately didn't purchase as I always thought it was too sheer. But for the sake of completing my collection, and the fact I never thought I'd come across another bottle again, I ended up buying it. I figured I frequently paint 3-4 coats of a light coloured polish to achieve full opacity, so why wouldn't I do the same for a sheer glitter?

OPI Katy Perry Collection

The best way I'd describe Last Friday Night is a translucent, pale cornflower blue jelly polish loaded with glitter reminiscent of China Glaze Snow Globe. There are similar polishes that replicate or come close to achieving the iridescence in Last Friday Night (not only Snow Globe, but Revlon Heavenly, Essie Shine of the Times), but none of them have the same ethereal, barely there blue base. It really adds something extra to the polish and makes it more unique.

I painted 4 coats which I feel is the minimum required to wear the polish on its own, rather than using it as a top coat. I did try it over a navy blue polish, and while the contrast made the glitter pop, I felt it lost the character of the polish. If I wanted a glitter top coat, I'd just use any of the other polishes I mentioned that have a clear base. I get that not everyone will have the desire, patience or time to paint 4 coats (not including base and top coat), but for Last Friday Night, the result is worth it. Surprisingly, my manicure has lasted a few days without any chipping or signs of wear. I'm not sure if this is because of the base and top coat combination I used (Revlon Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat and of course, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri), or whether the polish itself has excellent longevity. Probably a bit of both.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Instant Mismatch

I've never been particularly interested in concealers, yet somehow I've ended up with 6 of them. Recently, I had a 10% off Myer voucher and decided to use it and buy the Clarins Instant Concealer. It's normally $38 so I saved a whopping $3.80 (/sarcasm). With Pixiwoo, Sali Hughes and ViviannaDoesMakeup raving about it, and the fact it's a very generous 15ml (basically half of a standard foundation), I thought it would be a purchase I wouldn't regret. At the store, I tried a bit of Light (01) and Medium (02) and figured I'd get more use out of the darker shade. Light would be ideal to brighten under the eyes and maybe cancel out redness around the nose and corners of the mouth, but would be too pale for the rest of my face. Medium looked like the wrong undertone, but I convinced myself I could make it work.

Believe the hype ... this is an incredible concealer, but with one caveat. The shade range is tragically limited. Medium on my skin tone is just wrong, wrong, wrong. The darkness is about the same as my foundations, but the undertone is completely incorrect. I've complained before about pinky/peachy-toned foundations and powders, and Medium is the exact same story. I need YELLOW. I can't do these warm, browny-peachy colours. My face just looks off.

Here, I've applied a little bit of the concealer on my chin and around my mouth. You can instantly see the stark contrast in undertone between my face and my neck.

Top to bottom: Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 01, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, Clarins Instant Concealer in 02, Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in Classic Beige, Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand, L.A. Girl Pro Conceal High Definition Concealer in Creamy Beige

I was very interested to see how the Clarins compared with my other concealers. In the swatch, it looks most similar to Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 01, but that's only because the product weirdly oxidised on my hand. It's actually much lighter in person — without a doubt, the lightest concealer I own. The NARS and Maybelline are more yellow-toned and similar to each other. The Rimmel is lighter and more neutral/beige, L.A. Girl being a little more orange. I can immediately see why NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard is my clear favourite of the bunch, given it's the closest match to my complexion.

Clarins Instant Concealer feels weightless, has medium, buildable coverage (you only need a tiny amount each time), is kind on slightly dry skin and gives a blurred, airbrushed effect. The consistency is similar but slightly more liquid and blendable than NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. It's easy to work into the skin with either fingers or a brush like the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush, and provides natural-looking coverage without being cakey. If I use it sparingly and really press the product into my skin in thin layers (like Karima taught me), I can kind of overlook the fact the colour doesn't match me. If Clarins released a more yellow-toned shade, I'd be inclined to put the Instant Concealer top of my concealer pile. But while we're working with reality, I can't love it as much as I want to.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

US Drugstore Makeup Haul

While I've become increasingly drawn to high end makeup, without a doubt there are gems out there that are very reasonably priced but not necessarily inferior in quality. It's been more than 2 years since my last BeautyJoint haul, and I was feeling the itch to try some more affordable makeup from the US. Naturally, being an avid consumer of beauty-related blogs and YouTube videos, my order consisted mainly of hyped American drugstore products that I didn't have already.

Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipsticks in Matte Innocence and Matte Blissful
Oops ... I did it again. That's right, more lipstick. On the plus side, at least there aren't any pinks in here. (I'm characterising Matte Blissful as a purple, okay.) I was absolutely hooked on these two specific shades after watching this lip swatch video from KathleenLights. Getting my hands on them was the driving motivation behind my entire BeautyJoint order.

l-r: Matte Innocence, Matte Blissful

l-r: Matte Innocence (worn with balm underneath), Matte Blissful

l-r: Milani Matte Innocence, Revlon Complex, Rimmel Notting Hill Nude, NARS Biscayne Park, Revlon Soft Nude

Matte Innocence is a pale pinky nude. Prior research warned me of its relative sheerness and tendency to highlight every dry patch on the lips. It definitely does that, but I forgive a multitude of sins due to the colour. While I have a few similar shades, Matte Innocence leans more pink than peach, red or brown. Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Complex and Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Notting Hill Nude are more orange. NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Biscayne Park is the darkest and surprisingly, most red (I remember it to be such a basic beige). Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in Soft Nude is the lightest and peachier.

l-r: Milani Matte Blissful, Australis Lun-dun, Revlon Berry Haute, Chi Chi Bring It On

Matte Blissful was my "had to have". To say I'm a sucker for these purply-pinks is an understatement. I love the brightened, warm tone in this. It has a creamier texture and is more opaque in coverage and forgiving on the lips than Matte Innocence. Australis Velourlips Matte Lip Cream in Lun-dun (one of my favourite lip product discoveries of late) is very similar, slightly darker and less pink. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Berry Haute is much darker, more of a grape colour. Chi Chi Viva La Diva Matte Lipstick in Bring It On is cooler-toned, more lavender.

Milani Luminoso

Milani Baked Powder Blush in Luminoso (05)
As lauded as this blush is in the drugstore makeup world, I deliberately avoided purchasing it for the longest time because I was convinced I had too many similar products (NARS Deep Throat, NARS Luster, Bourjois Rose Coup de Foudre, Benefit Sugarbomb, BYS Coral, the list goes on). But two things wore me down. First was NikkieTutorials obsessing over it lately. Second was Karima McKimmie of Shameless Fripperies obsessing over it a few months ago (and only watching those videos recently). Add to that KathleenLights naming Luminoso as "top 3" out of all the blushes she owns, and no more could I resist.

I'm so glad I added this to my cart as it's lived up to the hype for me. I actually think it's sufficiently different to the peachy/coral blushes in my collection in that it's more of a lighter orange than anything with a red bent. The shimmer is also what it's renowned for: more of an illuminating sheen, very fine and not glittery or chunky in any way. The packaging seems excessively bulky to me (could've done without the bottom compartment with the mini brush), but the product is hard to fault.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal High Definition Concealer in Creamy Beige
As I recently learned the hard way with the purchase of Clarins Instant Concealer, the single most important aspect of any foundation or concealer is the shade match. Thankfully, Creamy Beige matches me fairly well (I'd guess I'm somewhere between NC20 and NC25). As some people have mentioned on MakeupAlley, there's grains in this. I don't know if it's a batch or formulation issue, but I'm definitely not the only one affected. The granules kind of melt upon contact with the skin and disappear, but it's still troubling they exist in the first place. I dislike the brush applicator, but I suppose it's functional enough. Having said all that, for $3 USD ($4), this is incredible value. The concealer blends into the skin smoothly, doesn't transfer or move around too much once it's applied, has good coverage and a natural, satin finish.

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara in Black (301)
This is one of the most hyped drugstore mascaras I know of and I was curious to see how it performed on my tragic Asian lashes. I'm not convinced by the volumising claims, but this is good at defining, separating and lengthening. It's on the wet side, but nothing too difficult to work with. I don't get excessive smearing or smudging (though I avoid using it on my lower lash line as it's not waterproof), or clumping. It's very black which is always a big plus. For $3.59 USD ($4.70), there's not much to complain about.
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