November 13, 2016

Beauty | Glitters by Lit Cosmetics

It seems like the US & Canada have a ton of makeup brands that focus on glitter. The first glitter brand to pique my interest was Lit! Cosmetics. Unfortunately, as a broke student, I couldn't afford to ship the already quite pricey makeup to the UK. It wasn't until IMATs last year where I could swatch them all that I finally bought a few.

Hot chocolate is described as a medium brown, it definitely has warm/orange undertones to it.

Soul Sister looks very green but is actually a brown glitter that twinkles green and orange.

Vanilla ice is a clear white glitter. It's very transparent and doesn't really show much.

Gunsmoke is a grey glitter perfect for smoky eyes.

Peacock is a stunning blend of blue and green glitter.

Cayman is a light turquoise glitter, reminiscent of the water by the Cayman islands

What do the numbers mean? The smaller the number the finer the glitter. The lowest, #1 is a fine micro glitter. The largest, #4 is a large cut. I personally prefer the larger cuts as they seem to pop more. The #2 small cut still seem too finely milled that the glitter doesn't shine as obviously.

The glass cube jars give the packaging a luxurious edge to it. I usually dislike sifter jars as they seem to prevent anything from coming out at all. Thankfully, the glitters are so fine that they sift through easily.

The thing with cosmetic glitters is that you can't really compare them with other brands quality wise. Standard 'solid' glitter's in particular as every glitter brand out there do them. It's whether the brand do any unique shimmer or holographic glitters that makes them special. Lit! do all the colours of the rainbow and more. While I love all the glitters, my favourite is definitely Soul Sister with it's multi coloured sparkle. Whenever I get the opportunity to pick up some more, I'll definitely aim to get more original glitters.

Lit! Glitters are available for purchase on the official Lit! Cosmetics website, Beautylish & Beauty Bay.
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October 30, 2016

Beauty | MAC Star Trek

I feel like there haven't been many beauty launches that have excited me this year. One of the few that caught my interest was by a brand that doesn't tend to generally capture any of my attention, MAC's Star Trek collection to celebrate their 50th anniversary. To my surprise, I'm able to review the collection two months after it's launch and the entire collection hasn't completely sold out yet, there are still a few bits available for purchase.

The Light Fantastic Powder in Highly Illogical
I rarely get tempted by cheek products, but the galaxy in a pan design intrigued me. I originally planned on picking up Luna Luster but it didn't seem to show up at all on my medium skin. Instead I tried out Highly Illogical on my cheek and was sold. It's officially described as a sheer wash of golden plum with fine pearl but on my medium skin it came off as a copper brown. It has a light sheen making it suitable for everyday wear.

Left - Pleasure Planet Lipglass
Right - KHAAANNN! Lipglass

Pure Show Eyeliner
This is the only purchase out of everything that I regret making. The colour is what convinced me to make the purchase, it's a beautiful bright yellow gold pearl eyeliner. I really don't like the formula and handle. As someone who doesn't struggle with eyeliner, believe me when I say the brush makes it difficult to use. It's impossibly to get a precise application with. Admittedly, this is mainly due to how watery the formula is. No matter where you put it, it seems to spread by it's own will. The one perk is that once it has dried up it won't budge. Ultimately, I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy.

Pleasure Planet & KHAAANNN! Lipglass
I've recently been steering away from doing matte lips everyday. I've been swapping my liquid lipsticks for creamy lipsticks or even just adding lipgloss over a liquid lipstick. I admit to being very tempted by all of the lipglosses in the collection, as they were all jam packed with tons of glitter and sparkle. I settled on pleasure planet which is described as a muted gold shimmer and KHAAANNN! which is a berry with red reflect. Naturally lipglosses aren't particularly long lasting and last approximately 3/4 hours with no base.

Left - Where No Man Has Gone Before
Right - Live Long and Prosper

Where No Man Has Gone Before Lipstick
Where no man has gone before is a very sheer lipstick. It's described as pink with gold pearl and has a lustre finish. It's the first time I've ever used or owned a lustre finish lipstick, it feels balmy and moisturising. It feels like a lipgloss in lip bullet form. The sheerness makes it excellent for layering over various different lip liners or liquid lipsticks. I occasionally use this solo but find it never lasts longer than 3 hours.

Live Long and Prosper Lipstick
Live long and prosper is described as a icy rosy champagne. My main interest with this was the frost finish, it has an almost metallic like quality to it. This is definitely a camouflage shade, it changes depending on who's wearing it. On myself it leanrs towards the warm champagne aspects and isn't at all pink! 

While many seem to complain about how uninspired the packaging is, I prefer it. It means my purchases weren't swayed by shiny packaging. It also blends in well with the rest of my MAC makeup on my dressing table instead of popping out too much.
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October 23, 2016

Indie Makeup | Black Moon Cosmetics Harvest Liquid Lipstick

It feels like forever since I've tried out a new indie makeup brand. Since earning my own income I've stopped buying drugstore and indie brands. Not intentionally but because I could afford to spend extra on something more high end. Lately though, I've been bored by most counter brands and indie companies have been piquing my interest again. While I've been aware of Black Moon Cosmetics for a while, it wasn't until they released their black metal trinity set that they really caught my attention. However, I already had a fair few dupes of everything in that collection and decided against it. Instead, I made an order for Harvest, a burnt orange with a hint of red.

Finally, I've found the orange lipstick of my dreams. I find the majority of orange lip colours always end up looking neon against my skin. Harvest is the subtle alternative I've been in search for, the burnt orange shade is perfect for the Autumn / Halloween season.

The packaging is similar to the Jeffree Star and Sugarpill liquid lipsticks but a bit taller than them. The lid has the Black Moon logo in silver on it with a crescent on one side and a jellyfish on the other. The black ombre tube allows you to see the colour of the product on the bottom and gives a luxury feel to it. The only issue I have with the packaging is I found the lip applicator took a while to get used to as it was too stiff to follow the curve of my lips.

The formula for Harvest is very comfortable and almost moisturising, it takes quite a while for the colour to mattify. Harvest was surprisingly long lasting. I found whenever I drank it didn't come off at all and it lasted really well throughout the entire day. It was only when I ate a rather oily meal that I found it really faded but it left a slight orange stain effect behind. I would say it easily lasts around 4-5 hours before needing any retouching. If you find liquid lipsticks to be too drying, the formula is great. If you hate retouching, you may need to look elsewhere.

Black Moon Cosmetics are currently only available for purchase through their official store. As they are based in the US, it took 2 working days before my shipment was sent and arrived exactly one week later in the UK. Which is reasonably decent shipping for international customers.

Mac Prep & Prime Skin Base Visage
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation #10
Illamasqua Skin Base Lift
Kat Von D Lock it concealer
Kat Von D Lock it setting powder
MAC Star Trek The Light Fantastic Powder in Highly Illogical

Urban Decay Vice LTD palette in Heat, Chase, Anonymous, Laced, Backdoor & Perversion
Kat Von D The Trooper Eyeliner
Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 eye pencil
Lit Glitter in Hot Chocolate
Clinique Lengthening Mascara

Black Moon Harvest Liquid Lipstick
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October 09, 2016

Haul | Kat Von D Purchases & Meeting Kat

Attending a meet and greet is very out of character for me. I've never idolised celebrities simply because we're all human and we all have flaws. Kat however is a woman I have so much admiration for. Her talent as a tattoo artist, how she brought that into her makeup line, becoming a successful business woman, her personality, I could go on forever. Originally, I didn't plan on going to London for the launch of Kat Von D or the meet and greet. However, I had conveniently booked a train down to Brighton from Birmingham on the launch date. So I went to check out the new counter in Debenhams on Oxford Street especially as I needed to replace my holy grail eyeliner

I ended up picking up a fair few bits considering how I've already tried out a lot of the range. Aside from the trooper eyeliner, I also picked up Dali, a teal coloured eyeliner to pair up with my hair. Next, I gravitated towards the metal crush eyeshadows. Even though I knew I shouldn't add to my ridiculous collection of singles, I couldn't help myself, as they're so pigmented. The shade I picked up was Doce, a metallic copper, the orange undertones got me. 

I've recently been leaning away from matte lips. Favouring my lipsticks and lipgloss over matte liquid lipsticks. The second I laid eyes on Gothica and Thin Lizzy, I had to try them on. They had insane amount of sparkle to them and have a 'metallic' finish to them. You can see the sparkle in the bullet. The two are pretty similar shades, Gothica is a bronze shade that looks natural on the lips and Thin Lizzy is more of a copper shade with some orange/red undertones to it. 

I also picked up a concealer, setting powder and eye contour brush after one of their makeup artists applied it on me. I found it really effective in covering my pigmentation scars from my acne. With one end of the brush she dabbed the concealer on and blended it out and with the other end of the brush she used the setting powder to lock the concealer into place. I was really impressed by how it neutralised the scarring I picked up all 3 items.

The goofy smile you make when your girl crush compliments you.

Since I received a wristband with my purchase and had a return ticket to London, I figured I may as well stop by. I arrived quite late, when the queue was probably at it's longest. The staff on the day tried their best to keep us entertained with freebies, snacks and competitions. We were given a tote bag to carry our stuff, samples of Kat's Trooper eyeliner and studded kiss lipstick in underage red. I ended up with 3 of each, so I plan on passing on the spare lipsticks to friends. They also kept us hydrated with water and for snacks gave us vegan cookies with either Kat Von D written on it or an image of the studded kiss lipstick on it. Towards the end of the line the makeup artists went around and offered to do touchups with the liquid lipsticks or to add stars with her liquid eyeliners.

I was ill prepared for the madness at Oxford Street. A few things I would do differently next time:

  • Get there as early as possible. If I hadn't taken the extra hour of sleep, another to curl my hair and just taken a taxi straight to the train station, I would have been at the venue 3 hours earlier. It would have meant not being right at the end of the queue and not waiting for as long either.

  • Bring something to sign. It's an awesome little memory to have and you have something to say if you're suddenly lost for words. How awesome would a signed palette have been?

  • Think of small conversation topics beforehand. I'm normally a confident person but for whatever reason, my brain just completely shut down when I met Kat, I was lost for words. 

  • If you're feeling rushed slow it down. Now, don't be that person who spends a lifetime with them. I was overly polite, I had my photo taken and felt like I was expected to just leave but had I just slowed it down a little and asked a question it would have been a minor annoyance to the organisers. Kat even slowed me down as I almost walked away without one of her famous hugs.

Overall, attending a meet and greet is a lot like going on a rollercoaster. You line up for hours for a minute or two of fun and at the end of the ride you get a goofy photo of yourself. Hopefully there'll be another opportunity for UK fans to meet Kat and next time I'll be able to get more out of it.
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October 06, 2016

Adventures In Dye | Arctic Fox Aquamarine

Last year I took the leap by bleaching my dark hair to oblivion to try and get turquoise dip dye hair with Manic Panic dyes. It eventually grew out this year and I ended up going through the process again to take the colour higher up. This time I decided against using Manic Panic dyes again. Although their turquoise dye was the perfect colour, their dye's were on the expensive side and did't last that long. Since I had more hair to cover as well, it was just more cost efficient to try something new. The new hair dye of choice? Arctic Fox's Aquamarine.

You can order the dye in either 4 oz or 8 oz bottles. Before the value of the pound plummeted, instead of spending £12-£13 on a 4oz bottle of Manic Panic, I spent it on a 8oz bottle of Arctic Fox's Aquamarine.  The 4oz bottles were roughly £7 - £8. The prices have now gone up to £10 for the 4oz bottle and £15 for the £8oz, so they wouldn't be as cost efficient anymore unfortunately!

Similarly to Manic Panic and Directions dyes, Arctic Fox is a vegan, semi-permanent dye. It acts like a conditioner and sits on top of the hair instead of bonding with the hair shaft like permanent dyes with harmful chemicals do. Arctic Fox's dye is possibly the only scented beauty product I've tried who's smell I actually like. I'm terrible with identifying smells but it definitely makes me think of berries. Blue dyes have a bad habit of staining everything, showers, towels and skin. Since I've taken the colour higher than before, I find I end up having spots of blue around my face, ears and neck quite often.

When I first put Aquamarine on, I was surprised by the colour. It came out electric blue, when I was expecting turquoise. After 2/3 washes, the green undertones began to show and it was a beautiful shade of turquoise. After a few more washes it begins to become a more green based turquoise before eventually fading into a pastel shade. I only managed to get it pastel after using a lot of coconut oil and swimming though. How long the dye lasts depends on how often you wash it and at what temperature, along with what kind of hair products you use on it. In summer when I'd only have cold showers, it lasted for a few weeks before I noticed much fading. Now that it's cooled down and my showers are boiling hot, the dye only seems to last 2 washes before noticeable fading.

Should any other fellow makeup addicts take the plunge and go turquoise, check out my makeup inspiration board for Turquoise Hair on Pinterest!

Follow Mish's board Manic Panic Electric Lizard Makeup Inspiration on Pinterest.
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September 29, 2016

Travel | Ticking Off The Bucket List at La Sagrada Familia

I can't remember when I had La Sagrada Familia on my bucket list or what the reason was for it. All I can really remember is wanting to visit the curious looking church (especially as someone with a sheltered upbringing in the middle east) by Gaudi in Barcelona after randomly stumbling upon it. This year, after making a list of places I wanted to visit, I just went for it, with very little planning involved.

From the distance, La Sagrada Familia isn't the most aesthetically pleasing structure. It comes off odd, somewhat ugly but definitely unique on the Barcelona skyline. It wasn't until I got up close that I noticed the insane amount of detail on the exterior, particularly the nativity facade which depicts the birth and early life of Jesus in chronological order. The turquoise doors add a pop of colour to the otherwise drab exterior, giving a hint of what's inside...

Even though I've never stepped into a church until my 20's, La Sagrada Familia is unlike any church I've been in. Instead of over the top Christian imagery, the interior is minimalistic with just one depiction of Christ and is largely influenced by nature instead with motifs like pillars resembling trees.

For whatever reason, most churches tend to be very dim, La Sagrada Familia is the only one that let's so much light in, you almost feel like you're outside. The stained glass windows spills out a rainbow of light throughout the room giving an iridescent glow to the organs.

We paid extra to take the lift up one of the towers to check out the view but honestly didn't think much of it. Perhaps skip out on paying the extra cash until the building is complete.

You can skip the line by booking a timed ticket in advance on the official Sagrada Familia website.
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September 25, 2016

Beauty | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Moshpit

When Urban Decay announced they were revamping their lipstick line with 150 new lipsticks, I found myself overwhelmed by choice and was put off trying any. A few months later and I had accumulated £15 of points on my Debenhams card that were ready to expire so had a peak at the huge addition of lipsticks to the Urban Decay counter. The first one I picked was Moshpit, the berry plum lipstick had intrigued me but the name sold it. 

Packaging wise, the Vice lipstick range is nothing special. It's a lot lighter and shorter than the Revolution line. It has a standard lipstick bullet shape with the Urban Decay logo impressed on it which feels like a step down to the circular bullet the Revolution line had. The casing is mainly gunmetal with a gold base, making it look a bit like an actual shotgun bullet casing. It feels cheaper than the Revolution line, despite the price of both being similar.

Moshpit was a surprisingly unique berry plum shade as it's slightly muted. I was glad to find that none of the berry lipsticks I owned were quite the same. Moshpit had redder undertones to MAC's Rebel and although an arm swatch suggested Tom Ford's Black Dahlia to be an exact dupe, I found once on the lips Black Dahlia came off very red on my lips while Moshpit leaned more purple.

Out of the 6 possible finishes, Moshpit has a cream finish. It's surprisingly pigmented with very good colour payoff, it didn't need any layering. Despite it's cream finish it somehow managed to last really well through hot drinks and meals with minimum fading. It easily lasts around 6 hours without a lip liner. It's a huge step up to the original revolution lipstick formula, which I found to be so creamy it lessened the wear time.

Overall, while I prefer the packaging of Urban Decay's Revolution lipsticks much more, the new Vice lipstick range's formula easily put's the Revolution line to shame.
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September 18, 2016

Brand Roundup | Kat Von D Beauty

If you've somehow missed the latest beauty buzz, Kat Von D has finally launched in the UK! Kat Von D's makeup line is a relatively young brand whose alternative themes caught my eye from day 1. I've forked out the extra cash for international shipping several times now and have managed to try out a lot of items in her range. Since there isn't quite enough products in the range to justify a 'Best of' or 'Top 5' post, I'm just sharing my overall thoughts with everything I've tried. 

Top - Vampira, Susperia, Bauhau5
Bottom - Double Dare, Lolita, A-Go-Go

Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are a definite must try. Sure the beauty market is over saturated with liquid lipsticks but I find myself always coming back to Kat Von D's on a weekly basis. The formula doesn't suck out all the moisture on your lips, long wearing and even last through a few meals. Although Lolita is the liquid lipstick that everyone raves about, I rarely reach for it and my favourite everyday shades are Double Dare and Mother. Of the bolder shades, I find Vampira and L.U.V are gorgeous but Bauhau5 and Susperia perform better and I use those far more. A-Go-Go is the only one I own that I regret buying, online it seems to be a regular orange lip but with my skin tone it's so neon!

I'm usually hesitant with any holy grail item in the beauty community. The trooper eyeliner was no exception and I originally didn't understand the hype behind it. It was very watery and impossible to work with. Six months after I had given up on it, I read somewhere that I needed to store it upside down, so the ink flows towards the brush tip. I then turned into the blackest liquid liner that's easy to use and so long wearing, it's often the only thing left on my face after a long day out. I've now gone through 4 of them and don't plan on switching things up. Believe in the hype around this one. Small added bonus, I can't help but chuckle at the Iron Maiden reference.

The eyeshadow palettes are definitely another hyped item in the range. The palettes are works of art, with a lot of thought and effort going into the artwork and choice of eyeshadows. They are all decently well pigmented, although formula wise I'm unsure if I'd consider them to be the best out there. The shade and light eyeshadow palette is a great matte palette for any makeup artist to have in their kit. However, as a consumer, I wouldn't buy it for myself as I know I'd only use up the warm shades. 

The Metal Crush shadows on the other hand are what I wish the formulas in these palettes were like. They are easy to work with, super pigmented with an almost cream like formula. The only exception to this seems to Black No 1, the one dud which requires a fair bit of layering. The downside to single shadows though is the price. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, you'll want to pick up shadows you know you'll use often. Thunderstruck is perfect for this as it doubles up as a beautiful highlighter. 

The Lock-It Tattoo Foundation is as full coverage as everyone make it out to be and covers the worst of blemishes easily. It is however, also extremely thick and difficult to blend out. I find I have to mix it with a primer of some sort to avoid looking like I've caked on the foundation. It's so long wearing that I find it requires extra cleansing at the end of the day to remove. The other downside is, when I use this alone I find it doesn't suit my skin type as it breaks me out.
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