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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

April Violet Box Review!

After unsubscribing from Lust Have It! (for money reasons, not because I hated it), and discovering there were other beauty boxes in Australia, I subscribed to Violet Box! It costs about $23 a month, and - same as Lust Have It! - you get a handful of beauty samples to try out!

I'm not very adventurous with beauty products. I always stick to neutral tones for makeup, and skincare and hair care products I know are really good for me.
So having a tiny sample to try when I'm feeling oh so adventurous is perfection.



Here are the contents of the box that I received. 
The first - and biggest - product in there, is the Cedel Extra Firm Hairspray in Raspberry Punch.
"Cedel's famous lightweight, non-sticky hairspray now comes in a range of fabulous fragrances to suit you and your lifestyle. Raspberry Punch is a fun new fragrance delivering a fruity hit with a touch of ginger, that freshens & holds your locks with a design that makes it the ultimate handbag accessory."

Okay so first thing's first: the smell of this is AH-mazing! It smells like raspberry lemonade. Yummmm!
I haven't used this yet - as I said, I have to wait for an adventurous day - but it smells and seems to be a dupe for another hairspray I've tried, which is really good, so I have high hopes!

Next one, which I actually already have, but I love the tiny tiny bottle, is Bioderma! Bioderma is one of the cult products that everyone needs to try. And I am a big Bioderma advocate. I use it every day I use makeup. I'm on my second big bottle already! This stuff if great! Pop some onto a cotton pad, wipe over any makeup and it comes straight off. 
If you have Benefit's They're Real mascara, you'll know how hard that is to get off! Bioderma makes it so so easy!

The next little sample is a whipped body cream from Villainess. I've never heard of this brand before, so I was interested to see what it was like. 
It is so luxurious! It smells like a really vanillary chai latte. The texture is rich but light (because it's whipped) and feels so nice on the skin.
If you have dry skin, this would be a perfect cream to use! I used it just on my hands and lower arm, and it made them smell incredible and after it had sunk in I couldn't stop touching my skin!


This lovely coppery/burnt red/rust/glitter type holographic polish is by 'teeez trendy cosmetics' (another brand I've never heard of). The colour is called 'Melted Copper', and in the bottle it looks incredible! On the box it says 'Chain of Stones Nail Lacquer', so I'm not sure if that's the name of the collection it's from or what...
But either way I was so excited about this colour that I put two coats straight onto my bare nails (not even a base coat - so unlike me), and oh my, it looks divine. I'm not big on sparkly-type nail polishes, but this one is a good'n'.  


Probably my favourite of the box - makeup related of course - is a felt-tip stylo type eyeliner pen from 'be a bombshell'. It's in the colour 'Midnight', which is a beautiful blue colour that to me looks only a tad darker than royal blue. I've bought one of the NARS eyeliners that has a similar felt tip like this one, which wasn't cheap at all...ever. But this one is just as good. I haven't tried many of these types of eyeliners, but if my NARS one and this one were the same colour, I wouldn't know the difference. In fact, unless I just had a lucky streak, I found this one easier to apply.
Strange, strange world!
I noticed that the eyeliner contains hyaluronic acid. In case you don't happen to know what this is, it basically is an ingredient that a lot of skincare items have to help skin absorb moisture.
Sooo...not sure why an eyeliner would have it, but hey, if it helps my eyes be all moisturised and stuff, I'm a happy camper.

So overall, I'm SUPER excited about my Violet Box subscription now! Can't wait for next month's one to come and to use some new goodies!

xxx







Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sleek Makeup Blush and Contour Swatches!

I didn't know Sleek Makeup even existed until I saw Zoe talking about it on her YouTube channel (Zoella). Sleep Makeup is designed and developed in the U.K which is probably why I hadn't heard of it, seeing as it isn't sold in-store in Australia. But after hearing her talk about the Face Contouring Kit, and not owning any contour or highlight products, it was on my hit list.

Since buying it, and loving it to death, I recently invested in two blush trio palettes. I'm a bit sketchy on them still, and I'll explain why in a bit, but I thought I'd share this collection with you and give you a bit of a run down on how they feel, look, and blend. :)

Enjoy!



This is the Sleek Makeup 'Face Contour Kit' in 'Light 884' 
The contour colour in this, I would have to say, is a dupe for the NARS Laguna bronzer. After purchasing Laguna, and then happening to put the two next to each other...they are basically the same colour! So if you want Laguna, but without the price tag, try this! Plus it's in a handy compact with a mirror and a highlight too. 
I have very pale skin (all my foundations are usually the lightest shade), and this contour colour is the perfect shade. It's not muddy, it's not orange, it goes on nicely, it's easily builable. There isn't a bad thing I can say about this! Plus the highlight is gorgeous. The photo doesn't do it justice at all, but it's so easy to use, buildable, blendable and beautiful!

I bought this from a eBay seller for around $15.

Colours L-R: Lantern, Squash, P Pie

Colours L-R: Lantern, Squash, P Pie

This is the Sleek Makeup 'Blush By 3' trio in 'Pumpkin 363'
It says it is 'intensely pigmented matte and shimmer blushers'. It's not lying - and to be honest, the pigmentation of these scares me. The first time I used this, I lightly tapped my brush in, tapped off excess AND blew onto the brush, and it still was too much, and it took too much work to blend in.
If highly pigmented blushers are good for you, then you'll love this, but it just was too much work for me.
So much product was going onto my brush without even a swipe, and blending it forever was a chore. 
Having said that, I did try just applying it with a fingertip. That worked a lot better! By tapping my finger in instead, I was getting less product which was easier to work with, but still such a hassle.

All in all, lovely colours, but WAY too intense!

Colours L-R: Newport Beach, The Surf, OC

Colours L-R: Newport Beach, The Surf, OC

This is the Sleek Makeup 'Blush by 3' trio in 'California 370'
"Intensely pigmented cream blushers"
A bit of a lie, but one I'm glad of. This is the first cream blusher I own, but I'm impressed!
A quick swirl of my finger and a little bit of blending gives a beautiful, subtle flush, I love it! All of the shades are lovely nudes: a pink nude, a coral/orange nude and a slightly more mauvy-pink nude.

I'm not too sure what I will use to apply these, but I'm thinking a stippling brush or a buffing brush might be a good start! I'm really looking forward to trying these ones!




With the exception of the powder blusher trio there (which isn't really my cup of tea), I'm absolutely loving Sleek Makeup so far. Out of all of these products, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Contour Kit. That stuff is a life-changer, plus it's not too expensive! 

Have you tried and loved any Sleek products you can recommend? 
Let me know what you think of these, if you have them!
xxx


Friday, 25 April 2014

Book Of The Month!

Why hello there! If you're reading this, or in fact, any of my blog posts, or anyone else's, chances are that you like reading.
Well me too, friend!

Every now and then I finish a book and just rave about how good it was for a good few days. You know those books where when you close it for the last time you feel that sense of happiness, accomplishment and content? These are the types of books I want to read every time.

I thought I'd share this book with you, because it was one of those. The title caught my attention, as it contained my name, which isn't very common, but also, the author (John Green) wrote 'The Fault In Our Stars' which I have heard a lot about. (I also bought this book, but haven't read it just yet!)
The novel is titled 'An Abundance of Katherines', and I mean, any book with my name in the title has to be read by me, right?

So anyway, I'm not particular about what books I read. Anything with good character(s) and I meaningful storyline and an ending that doesn't leave questions hanging is usually enough for me.



Here's a quick synopsis of the book (without giving too much away):
Basically, the story is about a guy Colin who was a child prodigy (incredibly smart), and has a strange love for girls with the name Katherine. Colin and Katherine affairs continue until his nineteenth Katherine (who was also his first Katherine) breaks his heart. He and his friend Hassan take a road trip which leads them to Gutshot, Tennessee. Here, Colin repairs his grief, finds a formula for love, and has his greatest 'eureka' moment that changes his life.

Okay, so I'm not an English pro, but hopefully that helps you get an idea of the book. Quite light-hearted and not too much drama, which I like. I tend to get very emotional with any TV show, movie or book, so having a light read is always nice and relaxing. There IS some math involved, which appealed to my inner math nerd, but all of which is explained a bit better in the appendix.

I never do this with books, unless they're amazing, but I actually read the author's note and appendix. Totally worth it! In fact, I'm pretty sure that reading it made me feel even more excited about the book's greatness!

All in all, I love love love this book, and I'm definitely keeping it for a later date to read again (as I do with all my favourite books). Great story line, and easy read, not too stressful for us sensitive souls, and a great resolution. A satisfying book to read! Definitely recommend this!


Have you read a book you love lately?
Care to share? 
xx

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Urban Decay Naked Palette; Swatches and Review!

I am so god damn late on this Naked Palette business. So late.
BUT it IS an expensive purchase, and as a casual worker and a part time student, I don't exactly have all the dosh to spare. I did lash out though, FINALLY, and bought one. I know the Naked 3 is all the rage now, but I'm somewhat particular, and I have to buy them in order (just pretend I'm normal, okay?).

Okay so first thing's first: when I got the palette in the mail... This is maybe a little bit embarrassing, but I may or may not have rubbed the velvety palette-god on my face for a while whilst heavily panting and drooling slightly. I'm only human!
But seriously now, this is the ONLY thing I have used since I got it. Every day I've worn makeup I have used this, and I love it!

It seems that you can put any combination of shades together and it looks amazing! My favourite look so far is to use 'sin' all over the lid, 'darkhorse' in the crease and 'virgin' on the inner corner and as a brow highlight. It's just so perfect <3

But honestly, whether you're going smokey-eyed, bronze-eyed, shimmery-pinky-eyed, it's got you covered. I thought I'd get a little fancy up in here and do some old swatchy-type stuff...


From left to right is...
Virgin
Sin
Naked
Sidecar
Buck
Half Baked
Smog
Darkhorse
Toasted
Hustle
Creep
Gunmetal


So luxurious! I know in terms of the Eye Shadow universe, these aren't the most luxurious eyeshadows to have, but this is the first big palette I've ever owned and it cost me about $80! That's a lot of money for me, and for someone who's only just getting into eyeshadow, this is super super duper exciting!!

I can't wait to keep trying new combinations!
What are your favourite looks to do with this palette?
Would you like me to do a post on the different ones I do?
Let me know!
xx

Sunday, 13 April 2014

What Does Toner Actually Do For Your Skin?

Ah toner...that one product that we seem to use just because it's part of the mantra 'cleanse, tone, moisturise...cleanse, tone, moisturise'. But, frankly, I have no idea what it does for my skin. I always thought that it cleaned off any excess oil or residue from after cleansing....?

So anyway, I figured that if I had no idea, there was bound to be others that don't too right?
Either way, let's go on a good ol' Google search to see what we can find...


According to the "HowStuffWorks" website "Traditional toners consist of moisturizers, oils andextracts that help soothe your skin." But it also says that there are different types of toners available: some that soothe the skin, some that dry it, and others that moisturise, and it's a good idea to pick one that is best for your skin type. Any toners that contain alcohol are classified as 'astringent', which means they will dry your skin.

Here is a snippet from a website 'Just-Health.net' which gives you a bit of info on toners and how to use them:

"

1. Refresh

Toners can help remove remaining makeup or impurities that can cling to the skin. This will provide you with a clean slate to provide any additional skin care treatmentsas necessary. Toners also provide a refreshing element after stepping out of a hot shower or during the summer months when you are more prone to sweating. Selecting a toner that has vitamins and antioxidants will help refresh the skin, providing a boost of energy and calm. Certain ingredients in a toner such as aloe, or witch hazel can also tighten the skin to improve the overall look.

2. Rejuvenate

Toners that contain fortifying elements such as vitamins A, C and E will rejuvenate the skin, simulate cell production and reduce the damage done by free radicals. This will also increase your skin’s development of hydrolipidic film, providing a protective barrier that will help your skin retain moisture and maintain the capillary walls.

3. Moisturize

Your cleanser will likely strip away a great deal of moisture from your skin. Toners can help you replace this vital moisture and bind it to the skin. This will draw water from the dermis to the epidermis to reduce the appearance of irritation. Using toners with peony flower extract or royal jelly are ideal for these purposes.

4. Protect

Using a toner that contains botanical extracts can help tighten your pores, limiting the risk of allergens or impurities from agitating them. This will help you avoid unsightly or painful blemishes or pimples.

5. Cleanse Dead Skin

Many toners contain exfoliating agents that can help remove flakes of dead skin. Gently exfoliating helps to bring out the natural brightness of the skin and will also help to prevent ingrown hairs. Toners with alpha hydroxy or glycolic acids are typically used for this purpose.

6. Balance Skin pH

The skin is naturally acidic with a pH balance around 5-6. Cleansing the skin will strip the natural oil that helps maintain this pH balance due to the alkaline nature of your soap. This will cause your skin to produce an excessive amount of oil to replace what was lost. Toners will help your skin maintain the proper pH so your skin will remain healthy."
Then comes the hard part.. how to choose a toner that's right for your skin type? Most skincare brands now label their products by what skin type they are aimed at, which makes picking the right one easier.
As a combination skin gal, I tend towards oily/combination toners. At the moment I'm using The Body Shop's seaweed toner, which I find a little bit too drying on my skin (for oilier skin it would be fine). Before this though I was using a Nivea toner, which was great at the time, but again, Nivea is aimed at younger skin (oily/hormonal) and so wouldn't be good for my skin now. 
However, toner isn't supposed to be used everywhere on your face, unless you need to. If you're using a toner as a secondary cleanser (for oilier skin), then use predominately in the T-zone or anywhere that you have oiliness. If you are using it for hydration, use it on places where you get extra dry, etc.
Either way, toner is a vital part of a skincare routine, and shouldn't be forgotten! I only tone my skin at night, because my skincare routine is more complex (I wash and use serums etc), but after reading up on some info, it seems as though I've been using it a bit wrong, and may need to find a new one that is better suited to my skin type!

What toner do you use? Do you find it's helpful? Or another one of those products that we "have to have", a.k.a, 'give us more money please'? 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

MAC Wishlist for 2014

As a makeup and beauty enthusiast, I am ashamed to say that I only own one MAC product...
I know, I know..try not to judge me too harshly.

I have their Studio Fix Fluid foundation in NC15 (I'm so pale!), which I LOVE so much, but I've never bought anything else from them, which makes me really sad, but also determined to get a collection happening!

So, I've compiled a list of MAC things I want, totaling to around $400 which is crazy, but worth it (I would hope). Want to see it? Well then, it's your lucky day!





1 extra dimension highlighter. Still trying to pick which one, but I think the pinky coloured one would suit me best :)





A mineralised skinfinish in Soft and Gentle: a cult classic, and one I've had my eye on for a while...oooo so pretty!

And of course...as all makeup addicts do..I need to get myself a pro palette and start collecting eyeshadows!
I've picked out a few so far:
Sumptuous Olive
   
Concrete
      
Cranberry
    
Sketch
   
Charcoal Brown
     
Naked Lunch
      
Woodwinked

Satin Taupe
    
Sable
   





That's a fair few, I know, but at $33 a pop, I'll only be buying one a week, if that. Hopefully they're as good as everyone says, because otherwise I'll be very disappointed !

Do you have any other good suggestions for MAC eyeshadows or other products that are good to try out? I'm a bit of a newbie to MAC stuff, so I never know what to look at haha!

Let me know your opinions! Help a sister out!
xxx


(on a side note, I didn't take these photos, so no credit due here! I can't take photos of things I don't own yet!)