Saturday, September 15, 2018

It Doesn't Count When You're on Holiday

I've just come back from a week and a half in Hawaii, and surprisingly hauled more products over there than I anticipated. My bounty was at least double that of my previous holiday to Singapore/Malaysia, but I guess the shopping in the US is always a notch above other destinations. I tried to limit myself to things not yet released in Australia, or that potentially might never be, or items I've been eyeing that worked out to be a little cheaper. It did help that my trip coincided with the Sephora Beauty Insider Appreciation Event Sale, so I could get 10% off some of the stuff I bought (because after visiting the US in 2012 and again in 2015, I have an American profile). However, the horrid state of the Australian dollar did mean the savings were scant.

What I ended up getting (all prices in USD, multiply by 4.712% for tax and then 1.4 for AUD conversion):
  • Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 in Pear ($9)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina palette ($42)
  • Origins Bestsellers Best Skin Set ($29)
  • Sunday Riley Flash Fix Kit ($28)
  • Laline mini Body Souffle in Hawaii ($12.50)
  • MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid in Rayon Rays and Not Afraid to Sparkle ($22 each)

I also repurchased a mini 50g tube of Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($12), a travel size MAC Fix+ ($12) and a travel size Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Nude ($24). 

I've wanted to try Sunday Riley Good Genes for forever, but at $154 for 30ml, forever had to wait. When I came across this Flash Fix Kit in Sephora, I had no cause for hesitation. At a relatively affordable $28 USD ($41 AUD), it contained 8ml of Good Genes and 30ml of Ceramic Slip Cleanser. The cleanser I could take or leave, as it seemed more targeted to oily/combination skin (and mine's more normal/dry), but I figured I was paying a pro rata amount to try Good Genes at a much more palatable price point. Engaging some basic maths: 8ml/30ml = 26.67%, multiplied by $154 AUD = exactly $41, the cost of the set. The cleanser was practically a bonus.

As excited as I was to try the set, Hawaii was probably not the best time and place to start. Good Genes is a lactic acid treatment and therefore you need to exercise extra caution in protecting your skin from the sun while using it. That didn't exactly click in my brain until the day after I tried it for the first time, then spent a day in full Hawaiian sunshine. Let's just say my skin didn't thank me for it. By necessity, I stayed far away from both Good Genes and Ceramic Slip for the rest of the trip. From my first impression, Good Genes is probably more potent than my skin is used to, so I'm not sure if it'll work for me. In terms of chemical exfoliation, I use Pixi Glow Tonic and have a 8ml tube of Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (plus a very old, completely neglected mini of Alpha-H Liquid Gold somewhere), so it's nothing new to me and I'm not lacking in options.

This Origins set was something I found hard to pass up due to the value proposition. At $29 USD ($43 AUD), it contains Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum (15ml), GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturiser (30ml), Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion (100ml), Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash (30ml) and Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask (15ml). The main appeal of Sephora to me are the minis and mini sets they come out with, so I spotted this one on the shelf and immediately picked it up.

I've been buying a lot of Origins lately (back in Sydney a few months prior, I'd purchased the limited edition Delete Dullness & Energise Gift Set for $64 which included High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream (50ml), High Potency Night-A-Mins Skin Refining Oil (15ml), GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (5ml) and GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturiser (30ml)). I think I'm going to take a break from Origins for the foreseeable future and either finish up everything I've purchased, and/or explore other brands. From what I've tried, their products look nice, perform decently enough, and are pleasant to use in terms of scent/texture, but the results on my skin haven't been transformative or anything.

The Kiehl's pear lip balm was something I intended to purchase in Australia, but never found it in stock. A colleague had it in her cosmetics bag, and I tried some and loved the authentic, juicy/watery scent, so I had put it on my mental wishlist to purchase. In the meantime, I'd bought the Lanolips pear lip balm as a substitute, but the scent was so disappointing to me that it only reinforced how much I wanted the Kiehl's. And yes, it's basically flavoured Vaseline (thin, borderline greasy and lightweight in feel), but a tube does last a long time and I have a lot of other thicker balms and lip treatments to even things out.

Laline is an Israeli body care/skin care brand that I first encountered while in San Francisco a few years ago, and I was sucked in by the "Hawaii exclusive" that they had for one of their body souffles. The scent is actually just their usual Ocean scent (with fragrance notes of sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine and ginger), but the combination of not being available in Australia, the powder blue/gold seashell packaging and the rich but non-greasy texture was enough for me. I was debating buying the body scrub as well (they do a demonstration in store and your skin has never felt softer after), but I noticed my arm had broken out in little red dots after and the price was a little steep for me to pull the trigger.

I was undecided on whether to buy the Norvina palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills prior to my trip. When I first saw it, I was overcome with that familiar feeling of NEEDING it. But then I watched a few more YouTube videos where the reaction wasn't overwhelming positive, and my enthusiasm started to cool. Rationally, I knew the last thing I need is more eyeshadow (or ANY makeup for that matter), but a part of me still wanted to get at least one "big ticket" item while on holiday. So, Norvina it was.

First, the way it swatched in store impressed me. The colour that I thought would most draw me in (Soul) became the least appealing to me, as in person, I realised how unflattering it most likely would be when applied to the eyes. But what sealed the deal was the top row of shimmers that are so intense and dense feeling and smooth, they border on creams. You literally only need a light touch to deposit full pigment. I tried this palette the first time and stuck to the neutrals, with the matte Volatile blended over the lid, then pressed Dazzling over the centre of my lid with my finger and blended the edges, and it was the prettiest look I'd worn in a while. For me, the only slightly questionable colour is Drama as it had more of a gritty texture that needed a few passes with the finger to blend out smoothly in the swatch (reminded me a lot of the metallics in some Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palettes). I also feel like I've seen that type of deep purply-brown in a lot of places and never use it. The same could be said for the golds/bronzes, but at least they're timeless staples.

(On a somewhat unrelated note, I'm starting to become convinced I am allergic to pinky/red shades. Every time I put them on my eyes, I get itchy, which invariably leads to swelling, redness, then dryness/scaliness the next day. Happened when I paired Love and Wild Child, happened when I tried the Natasha Denona Joya palette.)

l-r: Rayon Rays, Not Afraid to Sparkle

I've been drawn to the Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows pretty much since they launched, but have yet to purchase one. I've deeply regretted passing on the set of 3 minis in Rose Gold Retro, Kitten Karma and Smoldering Satin. They've since released more sets, but with other, less appealing shades. When I saw MAC launched a new product called Dazzleshadow Liquid, it was clear these were their version of the Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows.

I'd first seen Rayon Rays on makeup artist and earring aficionado Katie Jane Hughes, and it appeared the most "wearable" colour for my eyeshadow preferences, so that one was a no-brainer. But I also simply loved the iridescent glitter in Not Afraid to Sparkle (very reminiscent of Stila Perlina, which I was very tempted by but didn't buy), so why deny myself? At $22 USD ($32.25 AUD), they're barely $3 cheaper than the Stila shadows, but for some reason the MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid is priced at $40 in Australia, so the notion of "saving" a few dollars proved persuasive. To be honest, most of the shades were really eye-catching and pretty, especially under the bright department store lights. It was hard to narrow it down to just 2. I can't compare the MAC and Stila, but I suspect they're very similar in every respect, and any differences would come down to your preferred shades and packaging. I intend to wear these as a topper over powder eyeshadow, primarily for special occasions like parties/weddings for that extra festivity and sparkle, but equally on an ordinary Tuesday when you just feel like adding some glitter.
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