30 April, 2014

battle of the bronzes

maybelline bad to the bronze rimmel rich russet

When I was debating whether to purchase Rimmel's Scandaleyes eyeshadow paint in #006 Rich Russet or not, I Google'd to see if there were any direct comparisons of it to Maybelline's 24HR Color Tattoo in #35 Bad to the Bronze (£4.99). While most blogs mentioned that they were very similar, I don't remember anyone ever directly saying "if you have one, you don't need the other". That was my justification for wanting to have both in my collection. Now that I've owned both for quite a while, I thought maybe it's about time a proper comparison was in order. 

maybelline bad to the bronze rimmel rich russet
rich russet; bad to the bronze 
Colour wise, they are indeed very similar. Bad to the Bronze is a smidge darker, with more of a silver sheen running through the shadow. It has a buttery texture, and is very easy to blend. While you can definitely get away with one swipe if picking up more product, it can get a little chunky that way, so I recommended building up the intensity with 2 layers. The finish is slightly tacky, which makes it a great base for applying powder eyeshadows on top. Rich Russet on the other hand, is less opaque, and required 2-3 coats for a similar opacity to Maybelline's cream shadow. It comes with a doe foot applicator and applies wet, before drying down to a completely smooth finish. Once it dries, it doesn't budge, so you really need to blend out all the edges beforehand. The packaging makes the shadow incredibly portable and great for travel or touch ups throughout the day.

While the longevity claims are a tad outrageous, I do think they are both very long lasting. I personally have very oily lids (e.g. the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear gel liner gave me panda eyes within an hour or so), and over a base (I use MAC's Paintpot in Soft Ochre) they both lasted around 7-8 hours. Bad to the Bronze managed to stay strong, but creased and left an unflattering beige line in my double eyelid crease. Rich Russet creased less, but faded to a light wash of colour by the end of the day. 

Now to answer that very one question I had before purchasing these products: Do you really need to have both? No, you don't. On the lids they look almost identical, and the wear of it is very similar. But as a true makeup lover (read: addict), for £4.99 each (or $10.91 with the current exchange rate), why not have both? I honestly love both products, but if I had to choose one, I personally prefer Maybelline's offering. I like how it can double up as a base, and the colour selection is more up my alley in comparison the the other Rimmel shadow paints. (I have my eye on #65 Inked in Pink and #70 Pomegranate Punk next...)

17 April, 2014

revlon nail enamel: #570 vixen

revlon nail enamel vixen
As we're well into autumn (the recent weather is certainly making a point), I decided to get into the mood, and pulled out the darkest nail polish I have in my collection (besides black): Revlon's nail enamel in #570 Vixen. This caught my interest when Lily Pebbles mentioned it in her 2013 Beauty Favourites video. I purchased this on a recent vacation to Macau, and it was about 25 MOP on sale at Sasa (converts to about $4 in New Zealand). 

The polish is a deep vampy burgundy; often compared to Chanel's Rouge Noir. It translates much darker on the nail compared to the bottle, and requires 2-3 coats to be completely opaque. Two coats were used in the photo above, but my right hand took three coats as the first layer was a bit thin and streaky. The finish is gel-like and glossy enough on its own, but I always recommend applying a top coat for some extra shine and to prolong wear time. My manicure (trying to sound professional...) lasted about two days before the tips started to wear off, and started chipping by day three without a the use of a top coat. The staying power isn't the greatest, but the shade is so beautiful that I'm willing to look past that. I haven't tried Chanel's classic shade to compare, but a few dollars for an almost exact dupe? I don't think I'll need to...

The problem with dark nails is that you need to be precise in perfecting the edges, and it can really emphasis your nail size (though this is only an issue if you have wide nails like mine). A little trick I like to do is to leave a gap between the polish and the very edge of my nail (I tend to leave a much wider gap on my thumbnails as I dislike the shape of them). No one will know unless they really examine up close! 

12 April, 2014

estée lauder: gift on the go

estée lauder gift with purchase

Never in a million years would I expect to purchase, not one, but two Estée Lauder products in one transaction (and in New Zealand at full RRP)! Being a luxury brand with a relatively long history, I've always associated it with mature women, and a brand I never really gravitated towards. That is, until I found out about their amazing gift with purchase promotion at Smith & Caughey's. The gift was simply irresistible and looked too good to be true. 

Can you believe that I only paid for the two Pure Color Envy lipsticks, but walked away with everything in that photo? Because I'm still mind blown. While testers are offered for almost every makeup product available, samples are right on the other end of the spectrum — taboo, and never to be spoken of in front of a counter makeup artist (I kid). According to Estée Lauder, the gift is worth over $240 based on the recommended retail price of the full sized products. Of course, most items in the gift bag are sample sizes, but they're all very generous amounts. I purchased #410 Dynamic and #450 Insolent Plum (spending a total of $118) from the Queen Street store with the help of a lovely girl named Sandra. She was so patient with me and tried on all the products I asked her to. High end makeup counters can be a little intimidating in my opinion, and some assistants can be (for the lack of a better word) snobby. I work in a customer service environment, so I definitely appreciate good service.

estée lauder makeup

That aside, let's have a look at the contents, shall we? There were two sets to choose from, and I opted for the purple/warm toned set. Makeup wise, the bag consisted of their: Pure Color Long Lasting lipstick in #17 Rose Tea, Pure Color Intense Kajal eyeliner in #02 Blackened Cocoa, Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying volume mascara in #01 Extreme Black, and a mini palette consisting of their Pure Color eyeshadows in #10 Ivory Slipper, #67 Lilac Whimsy, #18 Sepia Sand, and #07 Smokey Ember. Sandra also depotted a sample of the Double Wear Light foundation in Intensity 3.0 for me to try. She tried the original formula on me the day before and I wasn't a fan of the cakey, settled-into-pores look. I wanted to love the foundation so much, but at least I didn't fork out $80 before I found I it didn't work for me. (I am around a MAC NC30 and got matched in the shade 2W2 Rattan, if anyone was curious). 

estée lauder skincare perfume nail polish

For skincare, a sample of their best selling Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II serum and Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant creme were included. Oh my goodness. ANR! This is pretty much the sole reason (not really, but really) as to why I wanted this gift bag so much. I get to try the famous ANR before shelling out $92 for a 30mL bottle? Yes please. If a product is Caroline Hirons approved, it's going on my to-try-when-I-have-the-funds-list. (Oh, my poor, poor bank account...) To complete my skincare addiction, Sandra also threw in a few sachets of the Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher serum. And lastly, the final two products are their Modern Muse eau de parfum, and Pure Color nail lacquer in Black Plum (perfect for autumn/winter)!

I've never tried Estée Lauder products before, but they've done an excellent job at recruiting another beauty addict (aka me) to their consumers' list. I love the fact that you only need to purchase two products to qualify, and there's no minimum purchase amount. The offer is available exclusively at selected Smith & Caughey's stores until Sunday 13th April, so make sure to grab yours before it ends! 

Edit 16-04-14; Post has been updated with photos. Here is the link to my instagram photo that I originally used.

10 April, 2014

recent empties: episode #01

the body shop, origins, bifesta
I love watching empties videos on YouTube. The idea seems a bit silly; someone (usually halfway across the world) shuffling through and displaying their accumulated trash over the past few weeks/months. But I'm sure most of you would agree that it's one of the best ways to discover new products. I've also managed to gather a few empty bottles and tubs for the purpose of taking the above photo, and doing a mini review on each. 

As you can see, I've finished quite a few products from The Body Shop recently. Quite a while ago, there was an amazing gift with purchase event and I just had to spend the full $80 to get it. Both the Moringa Body Butter and the Body Butter Duo in Macadamia were freebies, and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. Both sides of the macadamia were too greasy for my liking, and the formula for dry skin made my legs incredibly itchy. The moringa was better in terms of texture — less thick and not sticky, but the scent isn't my favourite. TBS body butters get such amazing hype, and I really want to love them, but it just seems like I haven't found the one for me yet. 

The Vineyard Peach Cream Body Scrub on the other hand; I really enjoyed using! The scent is absolutely delicious and that's what propelled me to buy it in the first place (besides the GWP). It isn't as exfoliating as some other scrubs I've tried, yet effective enough to create a smooth base for shaving. It's both gentle and moisturisng; great for when I don't want to use something too abrasive on my skin. I'm not sure if I'd repurchase as of yet, but I would definitely be keen on trying some of the other flavours.

This is the second bottle of the Bifesta Brightup Cleansing Lotion (¥1,050) that I've used up, and it served as my main makeup remover way back in 2011 when I lived in Japan. 
Micellar waters are huge amongst beauty bloggers, and it only took me 3 years to realise that I've been using one all along! I've forgotten how much I enjoyed removing my daily face with this (after switching to cleansing balms), and recently rekindled my love for it. I wouldn't use it as my sole cleanser; but it's great as a pre-cleanse on light makeup days (or when I'm just a tad too lazy to balm it up). 

Lastly, we have the Origins Super Spot Remover ($25). I picked this up from Mecca Cosmetica when I was suffering from an eruption of breakouts along my chin and jawline (something that happens every month or two — the joys of having blemish prone skin). The Origins offering definitely helped to reduce redness and the overall appearance of spots after a few days of use, but I would say it's more effective against minor blemishes as opposed to under the skin breakouts. It's not actually as drying as the sales assistant made it out to be, which is always a plus in my book.

As a beauty hoarder (ahem) enthusiast, it's very satisfying when a product gets used up to the very last drop. Time to get cracking on the rest of my collection...

04 April, 2014

rimmel lasting finish soft colour blush: #010 santa rose

rimmel lasting finish soft colour blush: #010 santa rose
I've never really been a huge blusher type of girl. I'll take eyeliner, brows, or even lipbalm over flushed cheeks any day, and my minuscule collection consists mainly of bright coral pink hues. I decided it was about time I step up my game and add a bit of variety into my everyday cheek colour — but it did take me a while to decide on which one. I wanted something natural and fuss free; something preferably from the 'drugstore' (nothing is considered drugstore in New Zealand, really) so I wouldn't have to break the bank.

Cue Rimmel's Lasting Finish Soft Colour blush in #010 Santa Rose ($6.98). I came across this on ASOS the other day and vaguely remember Alix (icovetthee) mentioning this in her makeup collection video. I did a quick Google search, and it popped up on a lot of bloggers' favourites, top blushes, and 'best mediocre looking product that turns out to be amazing' lists. 

Complete with scratches on the flimsy looking plastic lid; the packaging isn't the best. Still, I definitely do appreciate the makeover it has had — the design is much better than the old trapezium shaped packaging, and the embossed Union Jack on the surface is a nice touch. I was initially worried that the colour would be too light on my medium Asian skin tone, but I couldn't be more wrong. While powdery when picked up with a brush, the pigmentation is on par with a lot of higher end brands. The trick to this blush is to apply with a light hand and avoid going overboard (which I did the first time. My cheeks resembled a monkey's butt). On my skin tone, it comes off as a warm peachy pink, with just a hint of brown.

I highly recommend these blushes; they're great quality, affordable, and a good beginner's product to start off with. ASOS is one of my favourite online sites to pick up beauty products — they often have discounts (permanent 10% if you're a student, which I sadly no longer qualify for), free shipping, and they stock a range of products unavailable in New Zealand (Bourjois, Pixi, Paul & Joe, just to name a few). I have a number of sites that I use and trust when it comes to online shopping, but we'll save that for another time.