September Favourites

LUSH Fresh Farmacy Solid Cleanser
I picked this up on a whim back in May, I use it almost every day and it’s only just become half the size. It’s a solid facial soap and has calamine, chamomile, rose and lavender and is astringent but soothing, so perfect for a breakout-face.

Bdellium Tools 776
I have 3 of these brushes, and they are amazing. Morgan over at Hyacinth Girl compared this brush with the iconic MAC 217 and concluded that they are basically identical. I don’t have a 217, but holy fuck do I love these brushes. Perfect for everything, and it’s now a staple in my stash.

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Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
In my room at my new flat, I have to really contain myself to one makeup item of each type at a time. As such, for the last 3 weeks I’ve been using this palette and adoring it – the pink and rose gold tones compliment my eyes wonderfully and it’s an easy thing I don’t have to think about.

Lipstick Queen lipstick in Central Park
Hi, new favourite red lipstick. Pigmented as fuck, nice and bright and doesn’t move off my lips. Also, can we talk about the compact yet luxe matte-finish, metal tube? Lipstick Queen, you are incredible.

Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Face Cream
I’ve actually been using this more as a night treatment for my hands than anything else lately, as I ran out of my Elizabeth Arden Intensive Hand Treatment. This is a little harder to work in (figures), but it does the trick in a pinch. I also like it for the face but not as much as my HG winter moisturiser, hence the repurposing.

What have been your favourite beauty products this month?

TREND: Nontouring

When the term ‘nontouring’ first popped up in titles on my YouTube feed, I was incredibly confused. What the hell did makeup have to do with people not going on tours? It turns out I was reading it wrong, and this is a term for the stupidest fucking development yet in beauty trends.

So what is it? Nontouring is a term for the absence of contour makeup on the face. So.. just not doing any contouring. Let’s be real here for just a wee second and recognise that there is absolutely no need to give a label to the absence of one ridiculous beauty trend, thereby creating another one. It’s not innovative, it’s not new.. it’s how most young women did their makeup before cakefaces became the norm. It’s simply erasing an oft-useless 10 minutes of application time, and resembling a nicer version of yourself as opposed to a gargoyle Kardashian.

Before I jump ahead I’ll make a point to explain that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with chucking loads of shit on your face – so long as it makes you happy, and you wash it all off properly at the end of the day (lest Caroline Hirons hunt you down). When I want to look particularly fancy/hide my double chin, I have been known to deepen a few shadows on my face, and add some attention to my cheekbones. Do what you like with your makeup, I couldn’t care less. But personally, I bloody hate contouring and all it’s spinoffs.

Contouring is a technique designed initially for stage, where you have people looking at you from 50m away while you’re under very strong lights. With these things going for you anyone would look like a potato.. so enter contouring. Strong shadows drawn and then blended onto the face under the cheekbones, around the hairline and jawline and anywhere else right next to the area you want to emphasise/make your face look like a face from far away. It works like a charm, and was soon picked up by drag artists wanting to really develop their dramatic characters (makes sense). But last I checked, the average teenager doesn’t want to look like a drag artist, no matter how fabulous the queen. So why are people doing it just to go to the dairy?

The answer is not necessarily the Kardashians, though I’m sure certain members of that brood have a large part to play. With makeup being an increasingly accessible and fast-rising hobby, it becomes more feasible to try and replicate things people admire – namely celebrities. The thing here is that on red carpets, the makeup artists working on these celebrities are going all out. They have to; like on stage, their client will be under a lot of lights with a lot of flash, and they need to stand out from everyone else, so they have to dial up the drama and make Kim look fucking flawless so she’s noticed. And people will notice – “omg Kim is my liiife”, “goals”, “smh why is she so hot”. Admiration, followed by replication.

Again, most people do not have these circumstances, and when someone tries to replicate the whole thing it inevitably looks ridiculous. So the ‘gurus’ we watch take the most noticeable elements from these looks (contour) and focus on those. The general idea most seem to take from the red carpets is that the heavier the contour, the sharper the cheekbones and the more flawless you look. It looks flawless because you aren’t even seeing your skin – it’s suffocated under 17 layers of product. I can’t help but think that if you need to ‘bake’ your face with half a tin of powder to stop your product moving, perhaps you’re wearing too much.

Contour is in no way a practical trend – to do it well, you have to blend until your arm falls off. Most people don’t, resulting in an effect Bobbi Brown says “looks like dirt”. So how can you have the drama of Kim K without having to try so hard? ‘Strobing‘, or ‘using highlighter to look permanently sweaty’. It’s highlighting the tops of the cheekbones so much that they’re basically all you see on the face. Lots of product, doesn’t have to be blended as much, and creates shadows in it’s absence. But you still have tons of shit on your face, and you look oilier than the bottom of a roasting pan. So the next phase is basically dialing it back – strobing without the strobe, thereby removing the shadowing/contour effect. Whoa, is that a.. normal human face? Apparently not, it’s called nontouring now.

What bothers me the most is that there’s always got to be some ridiculous trend. We can’t just say “you know what, I don’t want to look like a face-paint tiger”. It’s always something that’s supposed to ‘play up’ a part of your face, to hide something you hate; it has to have a seemingly-essential purpose. So many people wear makeup because they feel like they need to, but makeup isn’t for that. Makeup is to enhance the nice face you already have, not replace it.

Maybe my dislike of contour and it’s friends is because I’m lazy – I can’t be fucked to wear any makeup half the time, much less to blend giant stripes onto it. But up close, I guarantee Kim K looks like she’s wearing a rubber mask. For the average person, makeup is designed to enhance the naturally existing features, and it does it well if you use it right. If you want some definition to your face, do the bronzer-3 trick. Tap some sparkly stuff on your already-existing cheekbones to bring them out without startling someone. Embrace your face, don’t draw all over it – nobody has naturally white undereyes unless they’re dead. Makeup is awesome and I love it – one of my jobs is putting it on people’s faces – but for most it’s at it’s best when it’s working with your face, instead of trying to make something that isn’t there.

What do you think of contouring, strobing and ‘nontouring’?

EMPTIES | The Body/Hair Stuff

I haven’t done an empties post in quite some time, and I’ve built up quite the excess of useless packaging. Just like last time there’s a lot, so I’ll split it up into 2 posts. This one is the body/hair stuff part, and it’s where my fascination with LUSH products from the last year really surfaces, along with a few other cool things.

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LUSH Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub, 130g
My skin loves and needs a good scrub, but apparently not a scrub made from fine sea salt and lemon juice.. ouch. This is not a friend for sensitive skin, or I imagine for people on a budget – I only got two uses of this pot because its a blue gloop that doesn’t go far before dissolving down the drain.
Repurchase? If I did use this again, I’d think this consistency would be far better suited to a bottle.

Bionsen Spa Minerals Stick Deodorant, 40g
In all the unseen empties hauls I’ve taken previously, there’s a stick of this. That’s because I go through one every few months, and have no plans to change that. I love these sticks so much that I’m going to write a whole article on them.
Repurchase? It’s magical and hard to get, but yes. I’ll pay the YouShop fees as long as I live.

LUSH Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie, 45g
I got this little pot in a gift box of wonderful (mostly discontinued) products I bought myself in the Wellington LUSH store. This lasts a fair while when I smoosh my shower puff into the pot and grab a little bit to fluff it up. At first I wasn’t such a fan of the scent, but then I used it and next thing I knew, I’d bought a full size and another 45g pot.
Repurchase? Always.

Wella SP Luxe Oil Keratin Restore Hair Mask, 150 mL
This came in a pack I bought with a full size Luxe Oil, and it took a long while to use up. It was pretty good, but I had to really choose my moments with it as it had a tendency to weigh my hair down, likely because my hair isn’t in need of too much restoring or repairing.
Repurchase? If the need arose, sure, but  don’t think it will.

LUSH Santa’s Belly Shower Jelly, 100g
I haven’t yet made up my mind on the scent of apple in cosmetics, but this incarnation was certainly fun. It was sour rather than sweet (thanks to the ‘vegan wine infusion’ in there.. what?), and at some points a little too strong for me. Still interesting though.
Repurchase? I’ll have to give it a few sniffs next time it comes out, because I’m still undecided.

LUSH Red FUN, 100g (not pictured)
It turns out that by adding water to FUN and shaking it up, the cornflour settles at the bottom and it becomes a horrific mess. This is what I did, but I did find the red version is bright and uplifting without being brash, so I bought more of it.
Repurchase? Already have!

Origins Modern Friction Exfoliator, 125mL
Origins’ cult-favourite exfoliator is expensive, and not all it’s cracked up to be. Using ground rice, this is quite abrasive, and the gloop it’s contained in is deceptively astringent. I found this way too harsh for my face, so wound up using it to scrub my body just to get rid of it.
Repurchase? I’d rather not.

LUSH Christingle Body Conditioner, 45g
I am a big fan of LUSH’s body conditioners – they’re a lazy-person-with-dry-skin’s dream. This one was probably my least favourite of all I’ve tried, as it left me feeling almost greasy rather than supple. However I’m thinking this could be user error, as I recall using this a lot quicker than I do the other body conditioners I’ve had of the same size.
Repurchase? Depending on price I might.

LUSH Respect Your Elders Soap, approx. 50g (not pictured)
I went to LUSH on my birthday (had you noticed I’d been using a lot of their stuff?) and was given a huge sample of this soap. It smells very much like my favourite Comforter bubble bar, and it’s squidgy and purple. It dries my skin out and doesn’t last very long but I don’t care because it makes me happy.
Repurchase? I intend to.

Wella SP Luxe Oil Shampoo, 150mL
This came in the aforementioned pack. It made my hair so goddamn soft it’s not even funny, and I was a fan. It took forever to get through, too.
Repurchase? I told myself no, but I’m beginning to miss it now..

Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Bath Essence, 100mL
I bought this when it was near it’s expiry date and heavily reduced when I worked at Dr. Hauschka. It smelled like melted lemonade popsicles and I’m not convinced it actually did anything but I appreciated it.
Repurchase? Not unless it’s as reduced as it was when I got it – it’s not worth $50.

LUSH Jersey Bounce Shampoo, approx. 60mL (not pictured)
This was another very generous sample I was given on my birthday. Pros: smells like lemon sherbet sweets, makes hair defy gravity. Cons: I had to use quite a bit, and the large salt chunks were mildly frightening.
Repurchase? I’m thinking about it. It wouldn’t be used often, and I’m concerned about expiry dates.

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What body/hair products have you used up lately?

EMPTIES | September 2016

This month I’ve done a strange flatlay, but I kind of love it. Despite being shot on a very rainy Sunday, it’s very season-appropriate – as Sophie would quote, “Plants Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking”. Let’s get to it.

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Dr Hauschka Night Serum
This is not actually empty, but it breaks me out and I’ve had it far too long. I was given it when I worked for Dr. Hauschka 18 months ago and as it’s not a product with traditional preservatives in it, it really needs to be chucked.
Repurchase? No – though the apple-blossom scent is nice.

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream
I like a light eye cream in the mornings to sit nicely under my makeup, and this is the best I’ve tried for that. I’ve written about it here previously.
Repurchase? Yes, unless my current one grows on me.

LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner
Magical stuff that you use like a wash-out hair conditioner, but on your body. This gives my skin heaps of moisture and an excellent scent.
Repurchase? Yes, when I have room.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara – Transparent
As far as brow gels go, this is not a good one. It comes out of the tube with a weird film on the brush that leaves horrific globs on your eyebrows; the brush is a bobbly monstrosity and is difficult to manouver. No.
Repurchase? Definitely not.

Clarins Double Serum (not pictured)
I like this because it strengthens my skin and helps it heal, as well as working amazingly in conjunction with AHA/BHAs to improve skin texture.
Repurchase? Already halfway through another.

LUSH Honey I Washed the Kids Soap, approx 25g (not pictured)
I love the sweet and comforting scent of this, despite the exceptionally drying effect it has on my hands.
Repurchase? At some point.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in 0 – Porcelain
This is my favourite everyday foundation – light but not too sheer, an excellent colour match and nicely blendable. There’s still some left in here, but it started smelling weird and was nearly done anyway.
Repurchase? On another bottle now!

Formula 10.06 So Totally Clean (Sensitive) (not pictured)
I’ve written about this and my affection for it numerous times here and here.
Repurchase? No – it’s near-impossible to find in NZ right now, so I’m trying a heavier acid toning product.

LUSH Layer Cake Soap, approx 15g (not pictured)
I got a sample of this with a LUSH Kitchen order and loved it – it was the red & purple colours, which have raspberry & blackcurranty scents (two of my favourite scent families). Not as drying as other soaps!
Repurchase? Quite possibly, but only if I got the same colours.

Dr. Hauschka Blackthorn Toning Body Oil
One of my favourite luxurious-as-fuck bathroom items – my skin never feels as smooth as when I’ve put this on. I don’t know if it tones, but then I try not to think about what is or isn’t toned on my body..
Repurchase? I have so many body moisturisers right now, but the second I can spare the cash, I will.

Ethique Oaty Delicious Shampoo/Body Wash Bar (not pictured)
This little mini came in my second sampler box, and I ended up loving it. Review due soon!
Repurchase? Yes – this will be my new shampoo soon, I expect.

LUSH Pink Peppermint Foot Lotion
Another not-quite finished product – I’m not a fan of anything to do with feet at the best of times, but the scent of this is that of a horribly medicinal, sweet milky-peppermint. Despite the arnica content, I just couldn’t get past the scent and the grease it left on me.
Repurchase? No.

Bionsen Sensitive Stick Deodorant
My favourite deodorant. It’s aluminium-free so it’s gentle and doesn’t hurt my armpits, even when I’ve been rude enough to shave them. My eczema patch doesn’t object to it and it has a clean, unisex scent.
Repurchase? Yep. This is one I have multiple backups of.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment
This is the thickest and silkiest hand cream in the world, that hydrates my hands and repairs them when they get dry and scaly (more often than I’d care to admit).
Repurchase? I’m holding off until the christmas sets with more of these cute tiny sizes come out, but yes.

July Favourites

July Favourites 2016

LUSH Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion
Recently I’ve been coming to terms with what my dry skin needs, and the effort required to keep it nice. I ran into this stuff from LUSH, and it smells divine, hydrates wonderfully and is discontinued. Just my luck. LUSH Kitchen, please release it again soon..

MAC Bare Study Paint Pot
This has been living in my makeup bag for a while, and rightly so because it’s the perfect shimmery cream shadow that stays put and makes me look more awake.

LUSH Monsters & Aliens FUN
While I have been creative with LUSH’s bathroom-playdough offering, the idea of using it to create a shaving cream hadn’t crossed my mind – thanks, r/LushCosmetics! I gave it a go and wow, I have never had such smooth legs. This scent is probably my favourite – vanillary and peppery. Ooh.

Lipstick Queen Hello Sailor Lipstick
I picked this novel lipstick when it was relatively new, and it’s been hanging out in my collection since. Then, when designing the make-up for a show I was doing, I needed a pretty mauvey, barely-there lipstick. This is a winner, and it’ll be staying in my makeup bag.

Novelty Socks
One of my favourite things to easily cheer myself up is buying interesting socks. Cheap thrills, but in the past month I’ve bought 7 new pairs of socks and instantly felt better every time. The ones pictured have a basic cityscape, with a pink godzilla – a spectacle.

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Moisture Cream
This is my second jar of this stuff, and it is my holy-grail winter moisturiser. Luxurious and nourishing, I will only use this to moisturise my mug in the cooler months.

Brow Gel
The clear brow gel pictured is just the one I’ve been using lately (Maybelline Brow Drama), and I don’t think it’s anything special, but in general I have really been appreciating brow gel to hold my unruly face forests in place without overdoing it.

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream
In winter, I need a good eye cream. It’s my peak work months (hi, dark circles) my skin is horribly dry (hi, crepey texture), and due to aforementioned work, I wear more makeup. While it’s not thick enough for all the time, this classic eye cream is perfect for under makeup and for morning refreshment.

Seventeen Phwoarr Paint Under-Eye Concealer
Since re-tossing this back in my makeup bag, I’m impressed! It’s salmon-toned, full-coverage (seriously, I used this as foundation in a desperate moment) and creamy – hiding my dark circles flawlessly. A brilliant dupe for my problematic fave, Bobbi Brown Corrector.

Apples & Pears Lip Balms
These gorgeous rose-gold toned, bee-topped beauties have been tumbling around my life for a while, but I love them SO much. The texture is a light oil that will not migrate away from your lips before it’s done it’s job. A little goes a long, long way – but it’s discontinued. Not sure what to do with myself now. .

 

What have been your favourites this July? Any oil-type lip balms you could suggest?

May Favourites

Jumping back into beauty blogging means writing posts about your favourite things every month, and here we go with May. This month there’s ten products on my desk, so let’s get started.

L-R, from top: Clarins Double Serum; MAC CoyGirl blush; Tangle Teezer Salon Elite; Formula 10.0.6 SOoTotally Clean; Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Wine Ink; MAC Beauty Powder in Natural; LUSH Don't Rain On My Parade Shower Gel; Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil; Ethique Sampler Box

LUSH Don’t Rain On My Parade Shower Gel
Just before Easter I picked up the seasonal Ultraviolet bubble bar and liked it, so when I saw this similarly-scented gel, I snapped it up. Violets coated in treacle, with a touch of malt.. amazing. I can see myself buying the big size when this one is done.

Clarins Double Serum
A friend who worked for Clarins showed me this stuff almost a year ago, and I promptly fell in love with this smoothing, nourishing serum. After a minor breakout thanks to a product failure, I’m confident that my nightly pump of this helped my skin recover. In fact, this always helps my skin bounce back from anything.

Bobbi Brown Face Oil
As my friend Selinah would tell you, I hated the idea of oil the first time I tried this. Long story short, she kept making me try it and eventually I bought this little mini size at the end of April. Nothing I have ever tried hydrates my skin so fully, leaving it so supple and smelling so good.

Formula 10.0.6 So Totally Clean (Sensitive Formula)
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Morgan taught me about the importance of chemical exfoliants, and this was the gentlest and easiest to access AHA/BHA toner I could find (a suggestion in Morgan’s post). This is my third bottle of the stuff, and helps keep my skin just that bit clearer and fresher. Amazing.

Ethique Heali Kiwi Solid Shampoo
Having had a needlessly stressed-out, irritated scalp for the past few months, I turned to Ethique and their solid shampoo bar designed to help heal troublesome scalps. I’m glad to say the sample I ordered of it worked a treat, and I have the full size on it’s way!

Ethique Guardian Solid Conditioner
When you use shampoo, you use conditioner, right? This smells like lime cordial and leaves my hair so very very soft. Also on it’s way in a full size and I can’t wait.

MAC Maleficent Beauty Powder – Natural
I redisovered this in my stash when I was re-organising it and after some googling to refresh what it’s intended for, I have been using this Beauty Powder (world’s most ambiguous product name) to set my face and keep things in place without over-mattifying or looking like I’ve got anything on. It doesn’t work under my eyes, but elsewhere I look glowy and perfect all day when I wear this. Make it permanent please, MAC.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner – Wine Ink
I feel a little like a cheat for including this given it was only in the last week of May that I discovered this, but when I had my session with Amy Conway at Selinah’s Bobbi Brown counter, I couldn’t leave without this. We all know how I love rich plummy colours on my eyes, and this is just perfect for my blue eyes in our winter/autumn weather. Gently defining, colour-enhancing but not boring, as brown can be.

MAC Coy Girl Sheertone Powder Blush
I scored this on Trade Me in the beginning of the month for about $8 including shipping – if you know MAC pans that’s a blimmin’ bargain, as there’s well over 1/4 of the product left (retails for nearing $50 now full size). Such a beautiful bright mauve, and I’ve been wearing it whenever there’s makeup on my face.

Tangle Teezer Salon Elite Hairbrush
Another end-of-April purchase, I’d been hearing endless praises about Tangle Teezers and when I found myself in town on very few hours sleep and not having brushed my hair in a while, I caved in and bought this. Even with my grumpy, easily-knotted thick hair, brushing my hair is a dream with this thing. While it’s not 100% pain-free (I can’t expect anything to remove knots from my hair and be pain-free), it reduces pain and time spent brushing my thick locks. I appreciate that. Works wet or dry, and easy to clean. WIN.

There’s my round-up; what have been your favourites in May?