March 25, 2015

Monthly Makeup Challenge | March - Pastels

If you don't already know, I'm taking part in Kayleigh from Blog of Shadows monthly challenges. Last month's challenge featured pinks for Valentine's. With it being Spring and Easter coming up, we thought pastels would be a very fitting theme to for during March. Anyone can take part in these challenges, so feel free to drop her an e-mail or tweet her.

I thought I'd bring out my Sugarpill Sparkle Baby palette as it's not received much love and is very pastel themed. It's also packed with shimmer so I also used a bit of Sugarpill's matte Mochi eyeshadow to balance out the sparkle.I started off with using Kitten Parade (rose gold) on the inner corner, I then blended in CandyCrush (frosty mint) on to the center of the lid and Mochi (matte mint) on the outer lid. Next I used Frostine (pastel purple) as a highlight and lower lashline then applied Hotsy Totsy as a harsh straight line on the crease. I finished the look by appliying Hotsy Totsy on the center of the lower lashline and eyeliner.

Products Used
White Eye Base
Urban Decay Anti Ageing Primer
Sugarpill Sparkle Baby Palette All Shades
Sugarpill Heartbreaker Palette Mochi Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Ink For Eyes Perversion Eyeliner
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel in Strike
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation No 10
Sleek Makeup Liqueur Lipstick
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March 22, 2015

Benefit Cosmetics Rockateur Blush

I thought I'd never see the day where I'd purchase a little something from Benefit. I admit, I have a love hate relationship with the brand. I love their cutesy feminine packaging but most of the time, I'm left feeling very 'meh' or disappointed by a lot of them. This especially applies to all of their hyped releases which leave me sceptical each time. I've had the odd positive experience with Benefit but ultimately, I've ended up passing on a good 90% of my Benefit items (most of which never even showed up on the blog) to an ex housemate who was a hardcore Benefit fan. Either way, I don't think this was an especially hyped release, at least not for me. 

The major reason I didn't buy this when it first came out was because of the price increase of their blushes. To be fair, they're not the only brand that's increased their prices. The problem is the downsizing of their blushers. Paying more for less product! Not only that, but Rockateur is the only one that has even less product (5g) than all the others they offer (8g)! I only ended up purchasing this as I had an employee discount doing some retail work during the Christmas season. I tried it on in store first to make sure I was happy with the shade on my skin tone before parting with my money.

While it is a rose gold blush, I find on my cheeks it comes off slightly mauve. Which works well for me as I have medium skin. It's nice to not have to pack on a rose gold blush to get it to show up on my skin. While the shimmer is very obvious in the pan, it's actually very fine on the skin and has a glow effect as opposed to a sparkling one. I find it's reasonably durable although it still does completely disappear by the end of the day. 

I'm not particularly a fan of the cardboard box. You can't just shut it quickly as the flaps on the side will often try to close on the outside. I find I have to pinch the flaps to get it to shut. Although I do like how the box keeps loose powder in the box, I feel like it could be shallower.

Despite it's flaws and all my bitching, I definitely see myself finishing this off and eventually repurchashing it. I'll probably wait until some sort of sale or discount is available but the actual formula itself to me is lovely. Fingers crossed, by that time there won't be another price hike but for now you can purchase Benefit's Rockateur for £23.50.
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March 19, 2015

Holy Grail Products #5 Urban Decay's All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray - Not A Gimmick

When I first heard of makeup setting sprays, the concept didn't make any sense to me. How on Earth could spraying yourself with liquid possibly improve your makeup's wear time? I originally passed them off as nothing more than a gimmick, some sort of con created by the beauty industry. Eventually, I had encountered several reviews raving about Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray which convinced me to at least try it out.

What is it?
Urban Decay's All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, the name speaks for itself. It's a spray to prolong the wear time of your makeup. Urban Decay do a few sprays but this one is both oil and paraben free. It also contains 'special temperature control technology'' that lowers the temperature of your makeup to keep it all in place. Whether it be a hot, humid day or cold, windy weather.

Why is it Holy Grail worthy?
For starters, it actually works! This might be a bit biased though as I've not tried another spray. I'd always hate how whenever I'd finish work my makeup seems to have slid off my face. While the bottle claims to keep your makeup intact for 16 hours don't expect perfect results by the end of that time. On the first day of using this, I instantly noticed how well it kept my foundation on my face. The difference between days that I do and don't use it are very noticeable. You'd think using a spray would also mean having a rather oily face but I find that although the skin feels a little tacky originally, the feeling disappears in a matter of seconds. Once it dries down, you really don't notice it's on for the rest of the day.

Application Tips
After you've done all your makeup, the instructions say to spray it on in the shape of an X and then a T. I tend to give it a couple of seconds to dry between shapes.

Price and Availability
A full size spray costs about £21 for 118ml. If you're unsure about whether to invest in it, Urban Decay do offer a travel size option at £9 for 30ml. While the formula is the same, I find that the pump isn't as simple to use on the mini compared to the full sized one.

Have you tried makeup setting sprays? Which one do you recommend?
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March 17, 2015

Glittery Green St Patrick's Makeup

Once again, I've come up with the totally unoriginal idea of green eye makeup for St Patrick's. I don't think anyone in my friendship circles actually take part in stereotypical St Patricks celebrations and I've not been on a St Patrick's night out ever. I actually wore this out for a friend's birthday which happened to be on St Patrick's weekend. Generally, I've been feeling rather self-conscious with the new hair, mostly because a lot of colours I'd use to wear before don't seem to pull together as well with this hair. Although, I'm definitely feeling the green.

The focus of the look is all in the eyeliner. On the lids I applied a light neutral shade all over the lid and then a muted green shade on top to make sure the green wasn't too intense. After highlighting the brows, I used an eyeliner pen to line my eyes as a rough guide. Next, I took a thin eyeliner brush and dipped it into some glitter adhesive and lined it above my eyeliner. Using the same brush, I applied the darker green Violet Voss glitter (gabriella) above the wing. Next, I took a little of the light gold-green glitter (jade) and blended it into the inner corner of the glitter wing. Next I went over the black pen eyeliner with gel eyeliner to darken the black before using a forest green eyeliner and eyeshadow on the lower lash line.

Products Used
 Too Faced Rock N Roll Palette Shadows in Rockabilly, New Romantic, Glam Rock & Punk
Violet Voss Gabriella & Jade Glitter
Violet Voss Glitter Adhesive
Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Junkie & Perversion
Urban Decay Ink For Eyes Perversion
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner
Bare Minerals Lash Domination Mascara
Illamasqua Skinbase Foundation #10
Benefit Cosmetics Medium Fake-Up
NYX HD Studio Grinding Powder
Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel in Strike
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March 15, 2015

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel in Strike

I don't know what it is about eyebrows that seems to unleash the makeup snob in us all. While I really dislike makeup snobbery, I admit to being guilty about judging someone's brows in the past, although I try to push judgemental thoughts out of my mind as soon as I have them. My own brows have been bugging myself for ages now, especially as I haven't shaped them since permanently moving here. I put it off because I hate how much threading hurts. 

Left - Using powder products and before threading
Right - Using Brow Gel and after threading

I was introduced to Illamasqua's Brow Gel when the Once collection released and I was shown how to fake shaped eyebrows with it, which involved a fair bit of concealer. However, since purchasing it, I finally bit the bullet and threaded my brows for the first time in over 2 years.

I don't have the best experience with cream based brow products. The last one I tried, Benefit Brow Zings, put me off as I found it too harsh on me. Illamasqua's Strike, although described as a dark brown, isn't too dark a brown and the finished look gives a soft natural finish. If Strike isn't for you, Illamasqua launched 3 new shades this Spring including a taupe, an auburn and a grey.

Formula wise, I didn't struggle at all with the Precision brow gel. Naturally, I did hesitate the first few times but I managed to get very good results on my first try, especially with the help of my new Zoeva brush. The formula is quite creamy and blendable. I find if I make any mistakes it's quite easy to swipe it away into nothing. You'd think that'd mean it doesn't have a long wear time but the formula refuses to budge until it's removed. Funnily enough, shortly after I began using this, I started getting compliments on my brows as well.

The one drawback is the price, not everyone is willing to fork out £18.50 on brows. Other similar brow products available out there for less but considering how many offers Illamasqua do over a year, there's bound to be a deal offering a decent discount to make it worth it. Ultimately, I do see myself repurchasing this whenever I make my way to the end of the tub.

If you're looking to make the jump between a powder brow product to a gel/cream based one, I would definitely recommend trying out Illamasqua's Brow Gel. These are no longer exclusive to Selfridges and are now also available at Illamasqua site for £18.50.
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March 13, 2015

Helena Bonham Carter Cinderella Inspired Look Ft Kat Von D's Chrysalis Palette

Today I have a very loosely Fairy Godmother inspired look from the new Cinderella movie. The promo posters and images have completely different coloured makeup to the movie, I'm guessing somebody decided to photoshop and mess around with the colours. You can tell from this clip that Helena's actual makeup has a more subtle purple theme going on and a hard to place lip colour to match. So I ended up trying to do that instead.

1. After priming, apply Glasswing (matte caramel) all over the lid
2. Blend Mezzanine (sparkle violet) in to the crease bone 
3. Build depth by blending Hybrid Moments (matte deep purple) into the crease
4. Sweep Lunar Lights (pearl grey) beneath the arch of your brows as a highlight
5. Apply Hybrid Moments (matte deep purple) on your lower lash line and smudge it out
6. Using a smudger brush line your inner corner with Hybrid Moments (matte deep purple)
7. Finish the look with liquid liner, pencil liner & mascara

Products Used
Chrysalis Palette Shadows in Lunar Lights, Hybrid Moments, Mezzanine & Glasswing
Bare Minerals Lash Domination Mascara
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation #10
Urban Decay Perversion Ink For Eyes Liquid Liner
Neve Cosmetics Framboisse Mousse Lipstick
Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss in Electrify
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Sexy Sienna Lipstick
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March 11, 2015

Lime Crime Drama & Not a Venus Palette Review

I've had this Lime Crime Venus palette review in my drafts for a while now. I was planning on just publishing it as just a review with a tutorial but having read some of the horrid stories on the #limecrimelies and #boycottlimecrime hashtags on Instagram, I can't with good conscious just go ahead and review it. If you haven't already heard, Lime Crime's website had a major security breach. Buyers have had large sums of money deducted from their credit cards and some of them have suffered from identity theft too.

I've known for a while about Lime Crime's dodgy history and did believe there was some element of truth to it. It didn't take much convincing that they weren't all unicorns and rainbows as I never got a sense of amiableness between them and other brands. Anyway as most things seemed to have happened years ago, I gave them a pass and thought I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, people can change right?

Unfortunately this recent cock-up is the final nail on the coffin. After reading stories of people who have been affected, I just feel ill looking at my collection and mentally calculating how much money I've given to Lime Crime. I do find it awfully convenient that Lime Crime pulled stock from UK and Australian suppliers shortly before this incident. I'm still unsure if I believe that Lime Crime actually stole from their own customers like some seem to, I just can't imagine anyone performing such a reckless act to their own business.

While I can't say I plan on binning all my Lime Crime products, I'll definitely be downsizing the collection. I'd already decided that I wouldn't be purchasing from Lime Crime when they pulled their stock from local suppliers as I just didn't trust their site. I'm glad I've not been tempted to do otherwise. For now, I can't imagine a way they could redeem themselves. So I'll no longer be purchasing anything from them.

As for the palette, while the quality is good, I was disappointed by how dull shades like Muse and Venus turned out on my skin tone. However, if your skin is lighter than medium, it'll probably apply deep. These reddy brown shades were the shades that I bought this palette for too. While the other shades performed well, they're not unique and easily dupable.

If you want to know more about the Lime Crime scandal, you can check out the #limecrimelies and #boycottlimecrime tags on Instagram & Twitter. You can learn even more about the owner's dodgy history at OhDearDoeDeere.
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March 09, 2015

Marc Jacobs Nail Lacquer in Petra

It seems as though the only colours I'll paint my nails these days have muted tones. During my France getaway, I decided I didn't already have enough nail polishes and splurged on a Marc Jacobs one. For someone who decided they're no longer spending any money on nail polishes, I chose a silly one to go for as there are many drugstore brands offer decent quality polishes.

It didn't seem as though the Sephora stores in France actually had the entire Marc Jacobs nail polish range when I visited. Since I already owned dupes for all the colorful options they had. The general nudes they had really didn't appeal to me. They all just looked like natural nail colouring, the kind of colour I just wouldn't bother ever using. Petra's dirty bronze metallic shimmer stood out to me quite quickly. It's a versatile shade that I feel is acceptable at work, would go well with henna and my biker gloves.

As per usual the polish packaging is what lured me in. I love how sleek it feels and the unique shape it has. It's a little difficult to remove the lid. I was surprised to find the applicator wasn't attached to the lid but it did make for easier application.

Usually I find any nail polish with flecks of glitter, sparkle or shimmer tend to last reasonably well. However, I was disappointed with the wear time of Petra. Admittedly, I didn't apply a top coat as I've run out. However, I found chipping began within 48 hours of wear time and in three days time the nail polish on the tips of almost every single nail had faded. On the plus side, I found it dried quite quickly.

While I adore the colour, I'm sad to say that quality wise, the Marc Jacobs polish let me down. It's all about the packaging with an ok formula, but I expected more for a high end brand. You can purchase one for $18 on Sephora.
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March 06, 2015

Dupes | MAC Rebel Lipstick VS Sleek's Smother

The first MAC lipstick that ever piqued my interest was MAC's Rebel lipstick. I first came across it in one of Jess' outfit of the day posts and needed to know what colour it was. It wasn't until recently that I took the plunge and purchased it. Shortly after, I came across a perfect affordable and cruelty-free dupe by Sleek Makeup. So how did it compare against Rebel?

Lip Swatch - Sleek's Smother on the left & MAC Rebel on the right
Arm Swatch - MAC Rebel on the left & Sleeks Smother on the right

I've tested both of these lipsticks a bunch of times and honestly couldn't decide which I liked better as they were too similar in lasting power, performance and colour. In the end, I had to just apply the two on each half of my lips to decide!

Color wise, you can tell that Sleek's Smother is slightly darker. However when applied side by side, it's barely noticeable. If it does bother you though, you can always just apply a lighter layer. Neither of the two are matte, with Smother having a Sheen finish and Rebel a Satin finish.

The only difference in quality that I found was when I applied Sleek's Smother on a bit thick. It would settle into lip cracks but with either your fingers or a lip brush, you can easily swipe it away. I found the two lasted around the same time. Both were quite pigmented for at least 4 hours before fading down to a stain effect.

Price wise in the UK at least, a MAC lipstick now costs £15.50 and it only seems to go higher every few months. You also get 3g of product while Sleek's lipstick offers 3.5g for £4.99. Since they're stocked in Boots and Superdrug too, you can probably get it during a 3 for 2 offer.

Ultimately, I would definitely recommend Sleek's Smother lipstick over MAC's Rebel. The quality is almost on par with MAC at a third of the price.
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March 04, 2015

Shiro Cosmetics The Hobbit Collection & Giveaway

I originally planned on reviewing this back when the last Hobbit film released (what a disappointing ending) but work has been getting in the way. I've talked about Shiro Cosmetics a few times now, they're a geek themed American indie company. They've been around for years and are incredibly affordable. While I had known of Shiro for ages, the Hobbit collection was the first that made me consider trying out the brand.

Swatches L-R - When the thrush knocks, Chiefest of calamities, War of five armies, Riddles in the dark, Attercop Attercop, Lingered in Twilight

When the Thrush Knocks is a soft coppery yellow gold with light shimmer

Chiefest of Calamities is a vivid orange toned red but comes off as a slightly muted orange

War of Five Armies is a darkened red brown

Riddles in the Dark is described as a dark shimmery green-tinted black with glitters of gold which I find comes off as a dark grey with gold glitter

Attercop, Attercop is a matte black base with deep blue iridescence

Lingered in Twilight is my favourite of them all and is described as a blackened blue and green tone shade with slightly metallic shimmer

I created two smoky eye looks with these, one using the first 3 shades and another with the rest. Normally though, I'd probably mix these colours with other brands and products but for review's sake I tried to stick to just these shadows. As per usual, the Shiro shadows apply wonderfully, are super pigmented and blend like a dream. Lingered in Twilight and When the Thrush Knocks are shades I'd definitely recommend as they're stunning.

If you're interested in trying any of Shiro's shadows, you can purchase a sample shadow for $1, a mini jar for $3.50 or a full sized jar with 2g of product for $6 on the Shiro website.

When I ordered these shadows, along with an I am Groot shadow, my order got stalled in tracking and I had Caitlin send out another. Shortly after, I found I had two parcels, I notified the owner immediately and she essentially said to pass it forward and that I didn't need to return it. So I thought I'd run a little giveaway but since I'd feel bad using an indie companies misfortune to gain followers, all you have to do to win is literally enter your email address so I can contact you to send them over. No tweeting, no following or any other commitment involved! Just enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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March 01, 2015

A Few Sephora Paris Purchases

So earlier this week, my partner and I made our way down to London to hop on a Eurostar to Paris. With the pound being at an all time high against the Euro (at least for a while), it seemed like the perfect time to visit and even make a few frivolous purchases. I had planned to wait until the last day to check out Sephora but the minute I laid eyes on one of their branches, I had to check it out immediately. Would you believe that I left Sephora empty handed? I was so overwhelmed by the choice, I had to sleep on it and return the day after.

The first thing I checked out was the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No 7 palette range. As I mentioned in my recent lust list, I've had my eye on it for a while. I was essentially expecting to walk into the store and find the palettes swatched awfully but honestly, all of them swatched so well that I couldn't decide between them all. I decided to eliminate the vamp and the tease palettes as I have so many vampy/smoky eye shadows and ditto for pink/purple palettes. The only other two options were the starlet and the Lolita and the only reason I went with lit was because I didn't like the idea of the silver shadow in the Starlet palette.

The next thing on my list was the Marc Jacobs nail polish range, it didn't seem as though they had the entire colour range in France. Turns out that folks in the US have access to 10 extra shades. Since my Illamasqua polishes pretty much cover all the colours of the rainbow, I went for Petra, which is dirty bronze polish with metallic shimmer. In many ways, it reminds me a lot of Urban Decay's blackheart polish but without the red undertone and significantly more shimmer.

I wanted to pick up a certain Sephora lip cream (another matte liquid lipstick) but the shade I was looking for wasn't available in France. The next thing on my to check-out list was Sephora's retractable waterproof eyeliner. While I normally don't care for retractable eyeliners, the smudge brush was what sold it to me. It's a smoky eye in a stick! So far I've found it to be quite creamy.

Out of all the Sephora's I entered, the one on Champs Elysees easily had the best customer service and was the most tourist friendly. A lot of the staff seemed bilingual and were quite chatty. I couldn't believe how kind the sales lady at the Marc Jacobs stand didn't just give me a lipstick sample but then proceeded to give me an eyeliner sample too, which I think was because I tried really hard to communicate in French. The only problem was that it made the checkout process way too long as they'd have long conversations with customers. 
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