February 27, 2015

What's in my makeup travel bag?

This week my partner and I have decided to grab a Eurostar to Paris for our anniversary. I've really been looking forward to it since I've not done any travelling for over 2 years. Anyway, since I have no scheduled posts for a while, I thought I'd share a few beauty items I've taken with me.

Makeup wise, I managed to fit a lot into a very small makeup bag by basically downsizing almost everything. Instead of taking a huge eyeshadow palette, I packed my mini NARS and god created the woman palette along with two Illamasqua cream eyeshadows. Also, instead of taking several fullsized eyeliners, I packed my Urban Decay dual-ended eyeliners. I packed a lot of samples instead of fullsized products too, like Bare Minerals lash domination mini, kat von d mini lipsticks, a Nars blush sample, along with an hourglass and stila sample from Sephora's Give Me More Lip set. I also took a travel size setting spray and primer so I'd be able to just do my face once in the morning and not care for touchups throughout the day. Since I've used up all my foundation samples, I transferred some from a full sized one to an old (cleaned) sample bottle to save space.

Brush wise, I had been doing a lot of overtime before travelling and did a very naughty thing by buying makeup brushes instead of cleaning old ones. (Doh!) So I ended up taking a whole new set of rose gold zoeva brushes which were kind of too beautiful to use. I also packed a few makeup sponges for foundation and a blush brush.

Skincare wise, I use a lot of Clinique as it tends to be one of the few brands that doesn't irritate my skin. For makeup removal, I'll use Urban Decay's melt down remover on the eyes and Clinique's take the day off cleansing balm on the skin. I also use the balm during winter before moisturising with Clinique's dramatically different moisturising lotion. I also packed a travel size body wash as we're staying in a very budget place so I wasn't sure if there'd be toiletries available.
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February 22, 2015

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks

Back to when what seems like an age ago, I made a very naughty Sephora order with a friend of mine. We both had basically ordered  a fair few lip products of which only one wasn't a Kat Von D one. While there was a lot of buzz around the studded kiss range, I opted against getting one as I simply couldn't decide on a colour. Instead, I went for a few liquid lipsticks and got a fair few.

A-go-go is described as a bright orange-red but it comes off very neon orange on me. It was easily the worst performing of the four that I own. I found it required a lot of building and smoothing out as it kept applying unevenly. I find the colour way too bright on me and the formula made trying to apply a thin layer impossible.

Bauhau5 is a described as a deep raspberry, it's actually a slightly pinker version of pretty zombie cosmetics people poison liquid lipstick. This shade is one of the more long lasting ones as it stains and has successfully made it throughout long work shifts.

L.U.V is described as a deep violet and while it is most certainly purple, it somehow  gets away with not feeling too outlandish. It applies quite evenly and make for an almost perfect dupe for pretty zombie cosmetics purple poison.

Vampira is described as a deep reddish burgungy but I felt like it had seriously strong brown undertones to it on me. It is a lot darker than Lime Crime's Wicked and would make a better Salem dupe but with red undertones / without looking like you smeared poop on your lips.

Across all four shades, the formula is rather drying. Similarly to Lime Crime's velvetine range, these liquid lipsticks tend to turn liquid to matte within a minute or so. It does make it a bit uncomfortable to wear over time.

The formula definitely seems to vary depending on the shade. Agogo needed the most attention when applying and a fair bit of layering. Vampira needed a bit of layering but applied evenly otherwise. I found it needed a bit of reapplying though. Both Bauhau5 and LUV applied well with no issues with bauhau5 lasting longer.

The Kat Von D liquid lipsticks are available at Sephora for $20.  While they  aren't affordable I would definitely still recommend them as the quality is significantly better than a lot of cheaper liquid lipsticks I've tried so far. 
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February 20, 2015

Milani Romantic Rose Powder Blush

This month I've been trying to keep away from makeup purchases until my trip to France, however, I made the mistake of stopping by Cocktail Cosmetics the other day. Each time I walk into that store, I just can't help myself, I need to pick up a little something. Recently, they've been introducing a lot of new brands to the store. Of all of them, it was drugstore brand, Milani Cosmetics, that excited me the most as they're quite popular in the US.

Of all the items available in store, it was this 'too pretty to use' Milani Rose blush that caught my eye. I opted to play it safe by going for one of the safer shades out of the 6 they had available. The blush mostly comes in shades of pink and corals. I went for Romantic Rose which is a lovely subtle, dusty rose shade.

This is one of those blushers whose design makes it unbearable to use. You want to preserve it rather than make a mark on it and I can see why it's been designed that way, it's not got the best formula. I found I had to dig my brush a bit into the pan and even then, when applying it felt like nothing was transferring to my cheek. After a bit of building though, I eventually managed to get some colour on. I've intentionally not included any finger swatches because I felt like it'd be too misleading. Nothing showed up on my fingers when I tried to do a quick arm swatch without a lot of building.

When I tried to swatch this, I also noticed that the texture was dry and powdery, making it my first porblematic blush. Aside from that, the blush does tend to fade after a few hours, despite having layered on a lot of product on the cheek.

As all the products were sealed and there were no testers available in store so it was a gamble purchase. I definitely do wish I had done some more research before my impulse purchase. Even though it's just £6.50, I can't imagine myself getting much use from this as it lacks quality.

Do you rate Milani cosmetics? What do you recommend I try out by them?
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February 17, 2015

5 More Palettes I'm Lusting After

It's only been a few months after my palette lust list but I'm still suffering from a serious case of palette fever. Nevermind the fact that I have yet to review 5 palettes, it has been so hard to fight temptation with each new release. I know I have way too many to justify more, so for now, I'll just have to live vicariously through this list.

Zoeva Mixed Metal Eyeshadow Palette
I have no idea how it took so long for me to finally hear of Zoeva. I was at first quite intrigues by their rose gold brushes and they also have some simple yet elegant makeupbags. However their palettes not only look gorgeous but come with 10 shades each for just £15. It's been so long since I've purchased a non mid/high end palette. While I do have my eye on their smoky and love is a story palettes, their Mixed Metal palette is the main one I'm lusting after.

Melt Love Sick Eyeshadow Stack
A stack totally counts as a palette right? I love the simple concept of stacking these magnetic shadows. They seem travel safe, fun to play around with and the pans on these are huge. I hope to see more shades soon and it would be awesome to be able to make your own custom stack with whichever shades we chose in the future. Fingers crossed they'll  be going in that direction. Personally, I'm waiting it until IMATS this year as I'd like to avoid a customs charge and if they're not available there, I'll probably try my luck at their annual Black Friday sale.

Hourglass the Modernist Eyeshadow Palette in Exposure
I think the image says everything really. Just look at how stunning this palette is! Reminds me of growing up in the desert.  Out of the 7 different palette options, the Exposure palette is the only one I'd consider parting £56 for but thankfully, I already own a palette with similar shades. That said, I don't think I'd actually be able to bring myself to use this palette because of how stunning it is. After a long wait, these palettes are finally available in the UK at SpaceNK.

NARS Dual Intensity Palette
During a little beauty discovery session at Selfridges last year, I was introduced to the dual intensity eyeshadow range and fell in love. However I wasn't willing to pay £21 for a single eyeshadow that I'd probably not get many uses out of. So I was super excited to hear that NARS decided to release a palette containing 8 dual intensity shades. At £45 it's not affordable but worth looking into if you wanted to pick up at least 3 of the dual intensity shadows.

Marc Jacobs Palette 
Unfortunately for my wallet, this one may end up being an actual purchase as I'll be visiting Paris soon. I will inevitably be stopping by a Sephora to check out what's available. I have been making extra sure to not spend much this month for this trip especially. So, depending on how my swatching goes, I may end up returning from Paris with either the very radiant orchid themed 'the Tease' palette or might disappoint my readers for going all 50 shades of beige and opt for the Lolita palette.

Have you tried any of these palettes out? Which palettes are on your lust list?

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February 15, 2015

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Dominique

So who hasn't heard of Nars' Audacious lipstick range? I don't think I've yet to come across a negative review of these lipsticks and I admit I bought in to the hype. The new lipstick formula comes in 40 different shades to chose from, from nudes, to pinks and even the odd purple or two. When I first researched swatches, I wasn't keen on 90% of them as they were easily dupable. However, there was one peculiar shade that caught my attention, Dominique.

Dominique is described as a pink lilac but it has a muted medium purple feel to it. Despite it photographing slightly on the pinker side, it certainly comes off on the purple end of the spectrum on my lips. It's a rather tricky shade to work with and I had no idea what to do with the rest of my face makeup wise. Luckily the Naked 3 made my life a lot easier has a few purple toned nude shades that went well with this lipstick.

Despite doing a lot of research before my purchase, it wasn't until I had purchased mine that I discovered the magnetic lid. Which makes me tend to fiddle around with this lipstick a bit more. It's nice to know that there's no chance of the lid falling off and getting lipstick everywhere in a handbag or makeup bag.

The formula on this satin lipstick is amazing for a non-matte lipstick. It has a satin finish that provides full coverage in a swipe and even survived a cup of hot chocolate. Of course, with these having a 'velvet' finish, don't expect them to last longer than a decent matte lipstick. Yet, even with it's creamy texture, you'll find that it still lasts as long as the average matte lipstick as it lasted around 5 hours. If you're looking for a long wear lipstick that isn't a matte finish, I'd say the audacious lipstick range would be up your alley.

While these are available at all NARS stands, I believe only Selfridges and the official NARS site in the UK do all 40 shades. Although when I was looking to try out Dominique, Selfridges didn't even have a tester for it so it was a risky purchase.

The only negative with this lipstick genuinely is the price tag, I can't recall if I purchased this during a Selfridges sale or if I just casually decided that I was willing to pay £24 on one lipstick in a moment of madness. If it's outside your budget most of the shades are quite dupable but if there's a unique shade that you can't keep your eye off on, I'd be surprised if you were disappointed in it. I'd also recommend the audacious range if you're lips dry quite easily and you're looking for a non-matte long wear lipstick.

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February 12, 2015

Monthly Makeup Challenge | February - Pink

Last month, Kayleigh from Blog of Shadows started a monthly makeup challenge which I meant to take part in immediately. However, I was ill for over two weeks last month and makeup was the last thing on my mind. However, as I've recovered, I can now take part. This month's challenge is pink which is very fitting with Valentines coming up soon. Since I have a tendency to overwork and put myself down for as much overtime as possible, I didn't do anything too crazy.

As you can see, I went for a very deep pink, featuring my only deep pink lipstick, Resist by Illamasqua. I really struggled with the eyeshadow in this look as my eyes were especially sore that day. That said, trying to create a pink eyeshadow look that I was okay with was a challenge and I even completely wiped away my original look as I wasn't happy with it. 

If you'd like to get involved you can send your look in an e-mail to Kayleigh or tweet her. 

Products Used
Inglot Eyeshadow in AMC Shine 29 (highlight), AMC Shine 48 (inner corner), AMC 74 (lid + crease), Pearl 452 (crease)
Charlotte Tilbury Quick Fine Line Shodo Pen in Panther
Benefit Bad Girl Mascara
Illamasqua Matte Lipstick in Resist
NYX HD Studio Photogenic Grinding Powder
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 10

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February 08, 2015

Urban Decay Scorpio Moodust Smokey Eyes

Last week, I was kindly invited to Selfridges to check out the new Urban Decay spring collection. It features a powder foundation range with 14 shades, 8 new concealer, a mascara, sheer lipsticks in gorgeous purple packaging and, what I consider the show stoppers, 4 new moondust eyeshadow shades. Out of the 4 new shades, there were two that really stuck out to me and surprisingly the purple wasn't one of them. If I didn't already own Illamasqua's Beguile light shimmer pure pigment, I would have purchased Cosmic instead. Cosmic was a glorious soft metallic white shadow packed with iridescent 3D sparkle. So instead, I decided to try out Scorpio.

Left with flash, Right natural lighting | Left swatch applied wet, Right dry over no primer

Scorpio is a stunning black matte with gold 3-D sparkle. The moondust range contains microfine bits of iridescent sparkle mixed with intense hues and 3-D metallics giving a gorgeous diamond like effect. I do have a black Inglot shadow that contains golden sparkles in the pan but once applied the sparkles disappear almost entirely. With Scorpio, I was expecting the shimmer to have faded or fallen out after a while during a windy day. Thankfully, after over 12 hours of wear, everything was still in place and there was still a lot of shimmer left on the eyes when it came to removing it all at the end of a long night.

To create this look, I actually used a few shadows from the Urban Decay Vice Limited palette. I used anonymous (pale cream) in the brow bone area as a highlight then applied laced (soft pink nude) into the crease. Next, I blended backdoor (dark brown) on the lid into perversion (soft black). I finished the look by patting down the moondust Scorpio all over the lid. I had a lot of fallout when applying this as I really wanted to make sure it was as shimmery as possible.

The entire new Urban Decay spring collection is already out online in most places. You can pick up a Moondust eyeshadow for £14 at Selfridges.

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February 05, 2015

Top 5 Marsala Makeup Products

Another year, another colour that's been chosen by Pantone. This years' shade Marsala is definitely one that's open to interpretation, which I really dislike. I wish they'd be a bit more specific as it's  While Sephora seems to have gone a very neutral route with their Pantone collaboration, I personally can't help but think of muddy reds and muted burgundy. It's safe to say the term 'Marsala' sounds significantly more marketable than 'mud red'.

Left - Lime Crime Venus on eyes & Sleek Flushed on cheeks
Right - YSL Kiss And Blush 11 Prune Impertinente on lips and cheeks

Lime Crime Venus Palette | Crappy reputation aside, I definitely think Lime Crime was one step ahead with their new Venus palette. One of the major reasons I had gotten it was because despite my hoard of eyeshadows, I couldn't find a red brown eyeshadow to dupe any of the colours in the palette. Makeup Geek's Bitten was a close one but leaned brown on my lids. 

Sleek Blush in Flushed | Easily one of the more affordable Marsala products that I own without sacrificing quality. Flushed definitely has an earthy deep red vibe to it. As someone who never applies blush especially heavily, I was especially impressed by how long-lasting the blush was.

YSL Kiss & Blush in Prune Impertinente | I purchased this YSL shade on a whim as the other neutral shades in the range didn't appeal to me very much. I was happy to discover the Kiss and Blush range has a stain to it rather than a gloss finish especially as glosses won't last more than an hour or two. Prune Impertinente is a muted burgundy which is stunning on the lips but definitely seems scary to apply on the cheeks. However, it's actually blends down to lovely natural finish.

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Chilli | When I first came across Barry M's Chilli, I felt rather meh about it as it was too muted down for me and was at the time looking for a more vibrant but deep ruby shade. However, it's a perfect, affordable Marsala nail colour. I adore the Barry M Hi-Shine range too, they're chip resistant, long lasting and have a lovely gloss finish.

MAC Lipstick in Sin | I admit this is much more burgundy than 'Marsala'. MAC describes Sin as a deep dark blue red, I find it's a chameleon shade. As in, it looks different on everyone and personally I feel it leans slightly on the browner side on me which could be due to my naturally brown lips. However other people say it leans a little purple.

Unlike last year, I definitely wasn't excited by Marsala when it was first announced. I was somewhat underwhelmed by it. However, I do like the concept, it certainly has a lovely vampy feel about it as long as you're not interpreting it as just another boring shade of beige. It'll be interesting to see if brands come out with more muted burgundy products or if they'll play it extra safe and just release the extremely neutral Marsala tones as Sephora seemed to have done.

So what are your thoughts on Marsala? Are you a fan or think it was a poor choice?

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February 03, 2015

Lime Crime Eyeshadow Brightener VS NYX's Jumbo Pencil in Milk

Over the last few months, I may have named NYX's jumbo pencils as holy grail worthy. However, when Lime Crime announced their own eyeshadow brightener, in a cream format, I was rather intrigued by it. White cream bases aren't anything new, but they're often sold in little pots as opposed to the primer tube form that Lime Crime went for. After experimenting with it for a while, I thought I'd compare it to NYX's jumbo pencil in Milk.

Quality & Performance
Ultimately both products give you the same results. When you blend both of them out, you'll get the same intensity from the two. However, when you try and apply a thick layer of NYX's Jumbo Pencil, it often ends up a crumbly mess, feels heavy on the lid and creases. It's not impossible to use though, the key is layering but when I'm pressed for time I find Lime Crime's eye brightener is significantly easier to use. All you need to do is use a bit more product and the creaminess of the formula allows easy blending. I found it almost impossible to blend with NYX's jumbo pencil when it came to using a few poorer quality shadows.
Winner - Lime Crime

I tested out how long lasting the two were by applying both of them on separate lids. I found when blending the two out to a thin layer, the two lasted roughly the same amount of time. However, when it came to heavy layering, Lime Crime's eye brightener definitely lasted longer and may have caused a bit of staining. It also required extra work to remove.
Winner - Lime Crime

At £5, NYX's Jumbo Pencil is a clear winner compared to Lime Crime's brightener which would cost you £13.50. While you don't need a lot of product with Lime Crime's eye brightener, I still feel as though the Jumbo Pencil would last longer. Especially considering how when it came to squeezing out product from the tube, I felt like there was a lot of air in the tube and it wasn't completely full.
Winner - NYX

While technically Lime Crime performs better, I'd say only go for it if you're willing to spend the extra money or if you have difficulty using NYX's jumbo pencil. Ultimately, NYX's Milk will still get the job done and you can easily get it for half the price. If you tend to wear bright looks quite often, it might be worth investing in the eye brightener as it feels a lot creamier on the lids.

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