June 25, 2017

Anti-Haul | 5 Reasons I'm Not Rushing To Buy Urban Decay's Naked Heat Palette

I've challenged myself to a relatively ambitious new year's resolution: not buying any makeup in 2017. The only exceptions are replacing the essentials, mainly foundation and eyeliner. Six months later and it's been surprisingly easy as there haven't been any makeup releases that have excited me. Until the release of Urban Decay's latest addition to the Naked family, the Naked Heat palette. At first glance, it seems like a well thought out cohesive palette with a clear theme. That and the packaging made it difficult to resist.

1. I Have Dupes...

The beauty market is already saturated with copper/red toned palettes. They've been trending for the last few years. Lime Crime's Venus palette released around 2014, since then we've seen Anastasia Beverly Hill's Modern Renaissance, Huda Beauty's Rose Gold palette, Violet Voss' Holy Grail palette. Urban Decay are jumping on the bandwagon fairly late and without doing their own spin to the now dying trend.

2. ...and Never Reach for Them

Despite the fact that I have several dupes for each of the shadows in this palette, I almost never wear them. I've rarely touched my Lime Crime Venus palette, and don't often reach for copper red shadows. 

3. The Shadows are Too Similar

At first glance the palette seems well put together, it definitely has a cohesive theme. Naked Heat looks like it suffers the same problem that the Naked 3 palette did. While the shadows may look different swatched, they ultimately look the same when applied on the lid. Naked Heat could do with some contrasting shades.

4. It's Uninspiring

Despite having 12 shadows, I can't think of many different looks to create with this. Certainly not 12 different looks. Browsing all reviews and tutorials, each eye look seems pretty similar to each other.

5. It's A Permanent Item

It's easy to get swept up with the release of a new item. Resisting the urge to buy the latest item is even more difficult when it's a limited edition item. Considering how the rest of the Naked line is permanent, it's safe to assume Naked Heat will be too. I'll be waiting for more reviews before I even consider trying this palette out.

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April 02, 2017

Stash Find | Illamasqua Apocalips Lipstick

Apparently my Illamasqua lipstick addiction was so extreme, I didn't realise I owned more than the 12 that I already reviewed. During a trip back home, I found Apocalips, a teal coloured lipstick, in my old bedroom. My inability to recall ever buying it gave a much needed reality check of my former spending habits and mindless consumption.

So while my hair was turquoise, I thought I may as well test out the lipstick and I hate to admit, I think I've outgrown the crazy bold lip colour craze. Admittedly, my colourful hair is the main reason for this, the teal coloured lipstick would have worked better with my natural hair. While there are a ton of alternative women out there who are content with bright hair and bold makeup, I prefer balance. 

Back in the days of black and white movies, makeup artists would use blue/green lipstick on actresses. This was because the camera was sensitive to cool tones, almost turning blues to white and warm tones would turn them black. Unfortunately, I can't filter real life to make this lipstick look normal at all.

Colour issues aside, I can't fault the lipstick itself in terms of quality. Illamasqua lipsticks are known for being on the drier side, but Apocalips is on the slightly creamier side as far as their matte range goes. It's incredibly pigmented, unscented and is incredibly long lasting. The slightly dry formula requires a bit of extra effort when applying.

Apocalips is an unconventionally beautiful colour, one that I can't imagine anyone getting much use out of. Back in their early days it would have cost less than £14 but now retails for £19. Luckily, so many brands do unconventional lip colours and if you really felt the urge experiment you could easily get a similar colour at an affordable price.

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March 05, 2017

Makeup Rehab | Decluttering My Blush Collection

This year, I've given myself only two makeup related goals. One, to not buy anymore for the entire year and two, to downsize the makeup collection. Unlike other makeup rehaber's, I'm not looking for a minimalist makeup collection. I enjoy experimenting and like having a variety of colours in my collection to mix things up on occasion. To kick off this little project, I'm starting with something easy for me, my blush collection.

The Original Collection 
I grouped my blushes into several categories: Light (shades that are possibly to light for my skin tone), corals, berries, shimmers, rose gold and brights. Breaking down the collection this way made it clear to see how similar some shades were and purge more items.

After Decluttering  
I was brutal with most of the categories. With the lights, I got rid of two blushers that were definitely not made for my skin tone and more for pale people. I got rid of all my coral shades because I know for a fact that I never reach for them. They were easier to wear with my natural hair but since dyeing my hair, I find it clashes horrifically. Since I don't wear berry blushes often, it made sense to only stick to one.

With my random shimmers collection, I simply got rid of the elf bronzer as I never reach for it and it was so cheap it was easier to part with. I rarely wear rose gold blushes, so I decided to keep my NARS sample that I had received for free a while ago and get rid of the rest. As all the blushes in the brights category were so different, I kept most of them and just got rid of my cream blushers. 

Last but not least, I had my everyday nudes:

I've kept more of these since these all flatter my skin tone and I don't look like a clown wearing them. I got rid of the blushes I considered to be poor performers. Since my Too Faced blush is nearly finished as well, I should soon be left with 2 powder blushes and 1 cream blush.

Binning : 11

There are two major patterns I noticed while chosing what to get rid of. First, I do genuinely believe you can get quality drugstore makeup items, I don't value them and rarely reach for them. They were the easy to let go of.  Second, I don't actually like cream blushers (although there is one exception), I should have never bought so many of them to start off with. Since cream based items carry bacteria a lot easier, they'll be going straight to the bin. As cute as Benefit's Rockateur blush is, it's been a pain to finish it up. I've gotten a decent amount of use from it and the bulky packaging takes up more storage space than I'd like so I'm unburdening myself from it by binning it.

Passing On : 4

I felt like these four are too nice to just chuck away, so I'll be offloading them to friends and family. If they aren't interested, off to the bin they go.

Keeping: 8

These are the 8 blushes I'll definitely be keeping. Illamasqua blushes are incredibly pigmented and long wearing, so there's no surprise that half of these are by them. Ultimately, I'm satisfied with the colour range and feel like any gaps in my collection that I would actually wear are filled. I'll probably never finish some of these brights but the point is to have them at hand for occasion wear. 

Panning : 2

Considering how empty my Too Faced Love Flush blush is, it only makes sense to try and finish it up as soon as possible. I'm also hoping to use up my MAC Star Trek Highly Illogical powder this year and put it towards one of six items to qualify for the Back to Mac program.

On Probation : 4

These four, I'm undecided on. A few months along the line, I plan on reassessing whether I do like them:

  1. Illamasqua's Zygomatic - The one cream blush I do actually like and love. However, I've not used it in a while. 
  2. NYX's Desert Rose - The quality of NYX's blushes are great. I'm just unsure about whether I need a berry blush. As I rarely wear them.
  3. Illamasqua's Chased - It's a bright rose pink blush that looks beautiful in the pan and swatched. However, pink has always been one of those problematic colours for me.
  4. Urban Decay's Flushed Blush Palette in Streak - This originally seemed like an excellent all in one palette. However, in the flesh, it seems like it's far too light to work with my medium skin tone. 

Repurposing : 1

Naturally with my obsession with purple, I couldn't help but grab Fyrinnae's purple blush. Although I love experimenting, purple blush is a tad too outlandish for me to pull off, even with purple hair. It greys my skin, I feel like cooler toned people might actually get a purple tinge but it doesn't work for myself. So instead I'll try and find another use for it, I'll have to double check the ingredient list to see if this is eye-safe so I could use as eyeshadow.



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January 29, 2017

Indie Makeup | Sugarpill Pumpkin Spice Liquid Lipstick

The season of pumpkins was over a long time ago but that didn't stop me from ordering Sugarpill's Pumpkin Spice liquid lipstick in December. Although the pumpkin spice theme may have put people off for being gimmicky, I've recently been wearing coppers and oranges a lot, minus the oompa loompa spray tan. So when photos of Pumpkin Spice's coppery base with warm gold glitter surfaced, I made an order for myself.

The packaging for Sugarpill's liquid lipsticks are identical to both Jeffree Star's and Makeup Monster's liquid lipsticks. I prefer Sugarpill's white cap as it feels less tacky than Jeffree's bright pink or Makeup Monster's green cap.

Pumpkin Spice doesn't work like Trinket, it doesn't have the 'magic' rub your lips for glitter to appear surprise. When you apply it, the shimmer is immediately apparent. When applying Pumpkin Spice, I had to layer it a little to make sure it applied evenly along the lips. The formula didn't feel either drying or moisturising on the lips, it felt as though I wasn't wearing anything to begin with. Even after 7 hours of wear, my lips didn't feel particularly dry. I was surprised by the wear time as Trinket didn't seem to last quite as long as Pumpkin Spice.

Pumpkin Spice appears to be really dark on paler skin tones but the deeper the skin, the more 'natural' it looks, minus the gold glitter! The pumpkin spice scent of the liquid lipstick is only noticeable when you sniff the tube but when applying or wearing it, the scent is too subtle to ever be a problem.

Pumpkin Spice is a seasonal limited edition liquid lipstick and is currently only available on Sugarpill's website.
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January 22, 2017

Travel | 5 Things to do If You Can't Get Tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

A decade after the last Harry Potter book was published and I completely underestimated how popular the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play would be. Not only are tickets for the next year sold out but every time they release more tickets, I'm inconveniently at work and tickets disappear faster than you can say Wingardium Leviosa.

Personally, I got over my Harry Potter obsession before the release of the 6th book. However, out of nostalgia, I kept reading the rest of them, including the recent Cursed Child screenplay. Reading the screenplay just made me want to watch the show even more. Sadly, I'll have to wait until tickets don't sell out so fast, if that day ever comes. In the meanwhile, I've been checking out other Harry Potter related things in London.

1. Check out House of Minalima

Located just a minute away from the palace theatre, House of Minalima is a small store/exhibition currently displaying graphic artwork from both the Harry Potter films and Fantastic Beasts movie until 4th Feb 2017 and 4th Feb 2018 respectively. The exhibition gives you s greater appreciation of all the finer details put into the films.

2. Book Tickets for the Harry Potter Studio Tour

While you don't have to book a year in advance to check out the Harry Potter studio tours, you do need to book a month ahead. Die hard Harry Potter fans will easily love visiting the studios where the movie was shot. If you're not the biggest fan, it's still worth checking out for the insight on movie magic.

3. Graduate at Enigma Quest's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Escape rooms have been popping up everywhere and while I have yet to check any out, Enigma Quest's Harry Potter themed one in London might be the one that pushes me to finally try it out. Instead of escaping a room, you have to pass a number of quests to solve within 60 minutes. If you pass, you graduate at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry itself.

4. Visit King's Cross Station's Platform 9 3/4

If you're a little broke, or looking to kill a bit of time before catching a train elsewhere, why not  take a photo at platform 9 and 3/4 itself. Sadly, it isn't actually located between platforms 9 and 10. While they do charge for professional photos, it doesn't cost anything to grab a pic on your phone. Good luck not spending all your money in the souvenir store though.

5. Go on the Potter Trail in Edinburgh

Instead of exploring London, why not go on a walking tour of the city that inspired J.K. Rowling's books. A lot of inspiration came from the city itself and she wrote several of the books there too. Not only do you get an insight on some Potter inspiration, such as Tom Riddle's grave but you get to visit less touristy areas around Edinburgh and learn more about the city's history too. 
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January 15, 2017

Beauty | Huda Beauty Gossip Gurl Liquid Matte Lipstick

Despite the hype around the Huda Beauty liquid lipsticks, due to my own personal bias, I had low expectations for this. The personality behind the brand isn't one that appeals to me (not that I consider myself to be accessible to the regular Jane). However, I had a lot of coworkers convince me to pick one up during my Christmas break back home in Dubai. Online swatches convinced me that Material Girl would be the perfect berry plum shade to match with the new purple hair. However, when in store, swatches convinced me it was too mute and dull to part my money with. Instead I settled on, what I consider to be a rather embarrassingly named shade, Gossip Gurl

Gossip Gurl is described as not a but the everyday cute pink. I'm tend to dislike pink lipsticks, mainly because they look amazing on many cool toned girls I know but clash with mine. Since Huda Kattan is a woman of colour, I shouldn't have been surprised to find that this shade of pink actually really flattered my warm medium skin. Despite having way too many lipsticks, I don't regret buying this shade, it actually managed to fill a gap in my collection.

I found the formula for Gossip Gurl to be very drying. As much as I love the colour, I avoid wearing it too many days in a row because of how rough it makes my lips feel. On the plus side, it's very long lasting. There are matching lip liners to each liquid lipstick which I didn't bother with but it still manages to stay in perfect condition for at least six hours. It eventually leaves a stain on the lips.

For £18 in the UK or Dhs 100 in Dubai, I'm unsure if these are reasonably priced. The formula doesn't stand out compared to other liquid lipsticks I've tried and the packaging doesn't feel particularly unique to justify the extra buck. I would recommend the Huda Beauty liquid lip sets instead for £33 each. You do get a lot less product but more shades, but considering how difficult it is to use up full sized liquid lipsticks, it's difficult to fault that.
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January 08, 2017

Makeup Rehab | 5 Things I Regret Buying in 2016

Despite buying way more than I originally planned to in 2016, there weren't many purchases that were amazeballs. On the other hand, there also weren't many things I regret buying. Most of the things I do regret buying aren't for their quality. So this list is not a list of the worst performing beauty items. The best example of this is...

1. Anything & Everything by Jeffree Star

Jeffree's liquid lipsticks were my favourite formula on the market. As someone who doesn't watch YouTube videos, news of Jeffree Star's shameful past took longer to reach me. Sadly, I had literally found out just after spending a fair bit of money on his highlighters and a few liquid lipsticks. After watching Stephanie's video and further examining Jeffree's behaviour and YouTube content (including doing makeup inside a fancy car), there are more deserving companies and indie brands to give your money to.

2. MAC Star Trek Pure Show Liquid Liner

When swatched in store, Pure Show was the most beautiful sparkling yellow gold eyeliner. However, when I tried it on my lids, the formula was watery and the applicator made it impossible for either a thin or precise application. Whenever I wanted to wear double liner, I had to redo the first wing.

3. Shiro Cosmetics Algebraic Collection

I love Shiro's Adventure Time themed eyeshadow collection. They perform about as well as other shadows by Shiro Cosmetics. However, I really didn't need anymore eyeshadows and I didn't just buy one but the entire collection as indie shadows are affordable.. This collection was the first purchase I made in 2016 where I broke my no buy after 4 months. From there, it was a slow slippery slope of buying more per month.

4. Sugarpill Kim Chi Liquid Lipstick

I love the magical aspect of Sugarpill's liquid lipsticks. The matte application with sparkle that appears after you rub your lips and the unique scent that matches each colour set their liquid lipsticks apart from the rest on the market. Kim Chi works as well as the other liquid lipsticks do. However, the lavender purple shade really clashes with my warm medium skin tone, even with new purple hair.

5. Kat Von D Dali Liquid Liner

I'm not sure what my reasoning behind buying this was. When I swatched it, I knew it wasn't pigmented at all and needed a lot of layering to work. However, I bought it just for the teal colour especially as it matched my then turquoise hair. Then a few months later I obviously changed my hair colour, defeating it's original purpose. The way I use this, I not only layer the eyeliner but I also top it off with teal coloured eyeshadow to really get the colour to pop.

On a side note, this year I'm challenging myself to not buy any makeup. The only exceptions are the essentials like foundation, eyeliner, concealer and face primer. I'm only allowed to treat myself with some vouchers I received last year and and whatever is left on any of my points cards. I'll be focusing on destashing my collection and using up items in my collection.
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