Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Baby Update

Little Evelyn is now 6 weeks old. And weighs approximately 4.8kg.

Revlon Lip Butter - Strawberry Shortcake & Cotton Candy

I've finally jumped on the bandwagon for the Revlon Lip Butters. I've been reading reviews, seen swatches and watched countless mentions of this product from beauty gurus on youtube but every time I go to swatch this product (on my hand) in the shops, the texture feels sticky and the pigmentation looks uneven. So I never actually purchased any. 

And then I went through one of those days. A day where you really don't have anything in particular that you need to buy or even want to buy but you refuse to go home empty handed. Yeah, one of those days. Fortunately these babies came home with me. I purchased two and I...LOVE them!

I bought Strawberry Shortcake and Cotton Candy because recently I've realized that these light pink shades really make my skin look whiter. From looking at the lipstick bullet, i preferred strawberry shortcake as it is such a girly pale pink colour. Cotton Candy appears to be a cool pink and kind of has a little tint of purple to it. But alas! when I smeared them across my lips, cotton candy was more of a nude colour against my naturally dark coloured lips and I actually like it better than strawberry shortcake which has a barbie doll superficial pink appearance to it. The texture is so creamy and moisturizing. When I took the lipstick off in between swatches, it really did remove a layer of dry/dead skin from my lips. Double happy!

Now value for money for these products is another story. The bullet is not as long as I expected and you really have to apply quite a bit to get an opaque coverage across the lips. For $22 AUD, these "drugstore" moisturizing tinted lip butters are a little investment. 

Strawberry Shortcake

Cotton Candy

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Review: Sigma F80 & Sigma E40

It was one of those rare occasions this month that I enjoyed a quiet afternoon on my balcony with a nice cup of coffee where my baby was soundly asleep and I was free for one hour (2 hours max) to do anything I wanted. Anything at all. 
Of course I chose to pull out my new beauty purchase arrivals and play with them :)

I purchased two brushes from Sigma during their Black Friday sale. It was free international shipping and I did not want to miss the chance! Sigma's shipping fees are ludicrous! Although I was tempted to add one of the kits to my cart, my conscience advised me to save my money for better things to come. The end result was the much raved about F80 flat top kabuki and an E40 tapered blending brush. A travel sized E25 blending brush was included as a GWP.

F80 Flat Top Kabuki

For any make up lover, I think this is one of those things you eventually will add to your collection. Simply because everyone has it, and everyone likes it. I must say, it really is as good as everyone makes it out to be. It buffs in the product beautifully and the bristles are soft which is not harsh on the skin for such a dense and packed brush. This is perfect for when you just want to buff in liquid foundation quickly and flawlessly. It's a win/win.

For a year now, I've been using a dupe to the F80 because I just couldn't get my mind to overcome the $20 shipping fee for a $20 brush. This dupe is from www.blankcanvascosmetics.com and it is their F20 brush. Now this one isn't cheap either, it is still AUD $21. But I was not initially after this brush. I was interested in the contour palette that Sineady Cady (the makeup chair) promotes in almost all her videos. and this brush, along with some other face brushes, were included with the kit. 

Left: BCC F20. Right: Sigma F80

Comparing these two flat kabuki brushes, they both create the desired end result which is flawless foundation finish. The bristles on the F20 are just a little bit longer making it a little less rigid that the Sigma F80. However, although the F80 is more rigid, the bristles are softer making it gentle against the skin. The F20 bristles feel more plastic-ky whereas the F80 feels more like fur despite both being synthetic. So the question now is which one do I like better? I definitely have to say F80 but just by a little. I will still go back to the Blank Canvas Cosmetics brush once the F80 is in need of a wash without a negative thought.

E40 Tapered Blending

The E40 tapered blending brush has such soft bristles, but yet still stiff enough to pack on the product. The thing that I love the most about it is it's long handle. It just has the perfect amount of weight to it. I also own a dupe to this brush, and for my small, flat creased asian eyes, i actually prefer my dupe.

The Models Prefer Professional crease brush has shorter bristles and is more tapered at the tip. Having shorter bristles means that it is more precise shading the correct (limited) area in my crease and creating a sharp but blended in shadow. Sigma's E40 is definitely more suitable for people with a deeper crease socket as there is more surface area to play with. Models Prefer brushes are much more cheaper and accessible for us Australian girls and I can never resist buying their brushes when priceline has a sale.

Models Prefer Professional Crease Brush

Left: MPP Crease Brush. Right: Sigma E40

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Introducing: My Little Chubbers

I haven't posted anything in the past two weeks reason being I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl! She was born 9am 16th November.

Recently, my husband and I have started to read this book by Heidi Murkoff. It is a really good book for first time and expectant mothers. It really goes into depth about what to prepare, what to expect and how to deal with being a new mum. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Monthly Marvels - October

I really apologize for the lateness of October's favorites. I have no idea where all the time has gone. (Me just lying in bed playing with my iPad and stuffing my face. Pregnancy is the only time I can eat without feeling guilty) So without further ado I will get into my months most reached for products!

Throughout the entire month of October, I have only used one primer. And that is the Benefit Porefessional. I like it because I know it works on my skin. I don't have to worry about whether or not it's going to break me out or whether it's going to make my foundation slide around my face in the Australian spring heat. I haven't put too much pressure on this little tube for reducing the appearance of my pores as my foundation usually does that trick. But it does amaze me with how well it separates my my skin from my make up. And hence reducing clogged pores, pimples, and the disappearing-make-up act after my foundation has been on my face for 5+ hours.

The Porefessional has a slight tint to it so it does even out the skin tone and reduces some redness around the nose and cheeks. It is by no means a tinted moisturizer even though it looks like one when first squeezed out of the tube.

The Porefessional swatch

I have used only 2 foundations throughout the month of October and that is the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat and Covergirl's Outlast Stay Fabulous. The Covergirl foundation may just be my most favorite foundation of all time...at the moment. It offers amazing coverage but yet doesn't look cake and feels light and smooth on the skin. It is a matte finish and doesn't leave behind any dry patches and is super blendable. And for just $19.95 I'm so glad I found such a perfect foundation at such an affordable price. 

The only other foundation that I have used is YSL's Le teint Touche Eclat. It is a super lightweight medium coverage foundation. It leaves a very dewy finish to the skin and smells divine as well. The packaging is so sleek and elegant. I do have to set it with setting powder so that the foundation stays in place in my oily t-zone as it is dewy and rich rather than mattifying like the cover girl foundation.

L - R: YSL, Covergirl

L - R: YSL, Covergirl swatched

I did an in-depth review of this blush here: Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee Blush - Tease when I first purchased it but I didn't use it much to be able to include it in my September Favourites. This month however, I've been found myself reaching for it more often than not. It gives the most subtle pink sheen to the cheeks. And it saves the extra step of applying a highlighter. It's very pigmented when swatched on the fingers, but when it comes to using a brush, not much product is picked up, which I think is a good thing because it gives you more control with how much to apply. Nothing can be worse than having already finished your foundation base and then plopping too much blush on one cheek that you have to wipe off and ruin the whole side of your face. This is limited edition and if you can still get your hands on one of these babies, I highly recommend it. Even to look at it is worth the AUD $75 price tag.

Tease blush swatch

My favorite lipstick range from Chanel is the Rouge Allure Velvet collection. I love almost every single shade that is available. This one is #34 La Rafinee which is a plummy pink. The formula is so soft and smooth. Unlike usual matte lipsticks, Chanel's is super creamy and rich. The velvet range of lipsticks also slightly tints the lips which I prefer to Rouge Coco's and their lip glosses. To me this is like a matte version of the YSL Rouge Volupte lipsticks.

I usually go through phases with my brows. I like to change things up every now and then. Sometimes I would use pencil, sometimes I would use wax and sometimes I go for brown eyeshadow. This month,  I have chosen the brown eyeshadow route and been setting it with MAC's brow set. It's super easy to use, and doesn't make your eye seem like you brushed super strong hold hair gel through it. It also helps soften the lines/brush strokes a little but from my application making it look more even colored and natural. It does get pretty icky pretty quickly, but it's just eyeshadow in there, can't hurt nobody :P

I have probably used 5 or 6 bottles of this cleanser from The Body Shop in my lifetime. I've just rediscovered it in the past two months and was reminded of what a simple and easy to use cleanser it is. This foaming cleanser is serious when it says that it foams. This product actually comes out of the tube in a foam state which is super easy to massage around the face and, amazingly, very quick to wash off as well. Almost every other "foaming cleanser" I've used comes out in gel/cream state and then blends into slightly foamy state after mixed with water and once rubbed throughout the face for a minute already. I love this product so much because its easy to wash off and that means I don't make a wet mess of my bathroom counter trying to wash my cleanser off my face.

I bought this moisturizing gel a really long time ago. So long ago that I'm not sure if it's past its expiration date yet. But it is a brand new bottle and I just don't want to waste it and throw it out. When I first purchased it, it felt really oily on my skin. I'd rub it into my skin before bed and wake up the next day with my face soaked in oil. I tried it for about a week and then put it in the back of the bathroom cupboard. Not knowing what came over me a few weeks ago but I decided to give this product a go again. Maybe my skin has matured? Maybe pregnancy has changed my hormones and hence my excretion of oil? But this just makes my skin feel silky smooth after application. It seems to absorb into my skin straight away, not leaving behind any oiliness that you get with some other moisturizers. So I've been finding myself using this day and night and preferring it over my usual (and unfinished) Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone creams. For the large bottle of 125mL, I must say Clinique is very reasonably priced. And this bottle will definitely last you months. If you have oily/combo skin, I recommend you visit a clinique counter to request a 7 day sample of this product before you dive it as it may have different results for your skin. And if you have dry skin, there is a lotion version that is a little more rich to give your skin a little help.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Luxury Obsessed Baby Mama #1: Oct 2013

I'm thinking of starting a designer haul series where I can review the things that I purchased on a more expensive side. Because this won't be a monthly thing (unfortunately), I will just number it. Will you be interested to read about this stuff? Please let me know. This would partly be the beginning of my lifestyle blogs and not just beauty.

A big purchase of October was an Hermes Birkin! Both my mother and I have been on the wait list for a Birkin since about 2 years ago. And finally they came. But in different locations. I was actually after a blue colour and my mother is after the purple colour but we ended up picking up each others due to location convenience. My mum will be flying into Sydney next monday where she will bring me the Bleu De Galice Birkin 35 that she picked up for me. I can't wait to see it! So here is the Raisin Birkin I will eventually give to my mum. This is my first 35 and it is such a practical size. Now that I have the 35 to compare to, the 30 Etoupe just looks like a toy. I used to think it was big enough, but not anymore! If your situation allows you to save up for and own a Birkin, I highly recommend a 35. And given the right colour and leather, it really is a classic and timeless investment that you will be sure to treasure.

Birkin 35 in Raisin with Gold Hardware

Now it joins my current collection of a Gold Kelly 32 and Etoupe Birkin 30. I also have a rouge Evelyne 33 but it seems so cheap and unluxurious compared to the Kelly and Birkins. 

Gold Kelly 32 GHW, Etoupe Birkin 30 PHW, Raisin Birkin 35 GHW

Do you know any tricks to buying a Birkin? Currently, at most Boutiques you have to spend an amount equivalent or more on non-bag products in order for a Sales Associate to notify you of any Birkin arrivals in their Boutique. This ends up making the value of the bag more as the other products were only chosen in order to get a Birkin. I'd love to know if there are any tricks from different Boutiques to secure a Birkin or Kelly in a...cheaper fashion.
A second big purchase of Oct is my first car! Well, I can't say it's my big purchase as it was a gift from my parents. My parents have always agreed to buy me a car, my first car but because I always commute to work by train, there never seemed a reason to invest in a second car for juts my husband and I. But now that I will be a stay at home mum, I will need something to get me to the shops and visit family etc when my husband is at work. We ordered this car with all the specifications and various packages in June this year and due to ML350's popularity, we had to wait more than 4 months for this car to be ready. But my baby girl will non the less be taken home from the hospital in a Mercedes :) Lucky thing.

October Beauty Haul

Aside from all the products that I have already reviewed and purchased in October (Mecca HaulBobbi Brown Hot Cocoa Palettemaybelline shadow quads) these are the "left overs". The products that I wasn't too excited about or regarded as deserving it's own rant. Last week, and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, I had a love affair with drugstore products from Target. I visited target about 3 times in a single week, purchasing cosmetics and baby related merchandise. I also hit Daiso Japan in Chatswood and made a little order from kissandmakeupny.com. Here are the newbies to join my already overflowing collection.

Detergent for Puff and Sponge. I have heard much rave about this from the Facebook group "Makeup Social" (which I check daily by the way and it is not a good thing! You always hear about beauty products that you can buy) It is a $2.80 cosmetic brush/sponge cleaner. Yes, that's right $2.80 for an 80mL. Are you still wondering why I purchased 3 bottles? Daiso is unbelievably cheap for the quality of product that you get. I always mix the solution with some water for just in case the chemicals could damage my make up brushes. I haven't tried it on beauty blenders yet but I've only heard miracle testimonies on it's effect on sponge stains. If there is a Daiso near you, this is definitely worth trying out. The square thing on the left is blotting paper. It is also $2.80 for a pack of 100 sheets. And the paper is MASSIVE. It is great value for money and one sheet is definitely enough for blotting your t-zone throughout the day.

My little purchase from kissandmakeupny.com was a little disappointing. I initially only wanted to buy the Laura Mercier Spellbound Illuminator which is a limited edition highlighter. But to justify the $10 flat rate shipping, I selected 2 other products that I didn't need but decide was worthwhile to add into my cosmetics stash. Turns out, after payment, the spellbound highlighter has ran out of stock. I emailed to cancel the order as I only initially made the order for the highlighter, and they've already shipped it! Yesterday! I threw a bit of a fit in the email for not being notified before my incomplete order was sent out to me and they waved the shipping fees as an apology. So now I have yet another loose powder (Laura Mercier Transparent Loose Powder) and blush (Nars Deep Throat) that I didn't need. I wish I had added the Laura Mercier Body Butter in Creme Brûlée now that I think about it. Maybe next time.

Now onto the Target haul. I'll just get the boring stuff out of the way first. I was in dire need of a pressed powder that I could carry in my bag for touch ups throughout the day. All the current ones that I have (Rimmel Stay Matte, Hourglass Ambient Powder, MAC MSF Natural, Bourjois Healthy Mix etc etc) doesn't come with a sponge for application. The one I previously used from Gorgeous Cosmetics oxidizes hideously on my skin. (I really don't know why Gorgeous Cosmetics can think they're mediocre brand can charge so much for their products). So I purchased 2 Revlon Nearly Naked and 2 Australis Fresh and Flawless Pressed Powder. Nearly naked has been said to be lightweight with good coverage and Australis is apparently a dupe for MAC's studio fix powder. They are certainly doing a better job that Gorgeous Cosmetics for only a fraction of the price.

In last months Monthly Marvels I raved about the Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Concealer but mentioned that it was my exact skin tone rather than a little lighter to brighten the under eyes. So this month, I bought the lighter shade. I love it and the colour is great for making me look more awake and presentable.

L - R: Dare to be Nude Lipstick, Capuccino Please! shimmer eyeshadow, Party All Night metallic eyeshadow, Metropolitan sparkling eyeshadow

L - R: Dare to be Nude Lipstick, Capuccino Please! shimmer eyeshadow, Party All Night metallic eyeshadow, Metropolitan sparkling eyeshadow

I have never paid attention to Essence before. I always thought it was cheap stuff that high schoolers bought. Boy was I wrong. I have never been so impressed! (Maybe it's because my expectation for this product was so s*** that I was pleasantly surprised?) For $2.85 eyeshadows and $4.95 lipstick, they are a small but rewarding investment. The pigmentation and effects of the eyeshadows are seriously comparable to those that I have for Chanel. Heck, Chanel's colour pay off isn't even as good as these Essence shadows that I bought. I am definitely going back to the Essence counter next time I hit the mall for some more cheap goodies. 

L - R: Ultra Moist Lipwear in Thalia, Wonder Pencil in 01 Clair, Jumbo eye pencil in Iced Mocha

L - R: Ultra Moist Lipwear in Thalia, Wonder Pencil in 01 Clair, Jumbo eye pencil in Iced Mocha

Nyx has just hit Target in selected stores in Australia and the prices are a bit appalling. It is a little more than double it's american price. So it is still cheaper to purchase from online sites such as cherry culture or beauty joint with shipping included. The only downside is you can't swatch it. Just last week cherry culture had all Nyx products marked down up to 20% off and a further 25% site wide. I regret the colour of the lipstick a little bit as I found that it changed colour and was a little bit more darker and more purple. Just an unflattering shade with my skin tone. The wonder pencil however is a true wonder. It's better than my current Chanel kohl Pencil in Clair as it is longer lasting and more intense in colour. But the theory behind the wonder pencil doesn't really work. There is no way that a eye pencil, reverse lip liner and concealer can all be the same colour. Reverse lipliner and concealer can be similar shades but an eye brightening eyeliner has to be lighter than your skin tone in order to brighten. No?

L - R: Smoky Quartz, Backstage

L - R: Smoky Quartz, Backstage

Long story short, I went in to purchase the eye shadow in Smoky Quartz because Tanya Burr said it was a dupe for MAC Satin Taupe eye shadow. I walked out with Backstage as well. The end. I feel like I'm a bit obsessed with this gunmetal, bronzy, browny eyeshadow as you can see from Nyx Iced Mocha and Essence Party All Night.