Beauty Empties: August 2016

No August Food Lately post because there was only one dish I really loved, so I’ll add it to September’s.

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Grown Alchemist Hydra Repair Day Cream Camellia & Geranium Blossom: I got a Grown Alchemist facial kit as a gift from friends a few years ago for me to try out this cruelty-free brand so there was a lot of their skincare range in smaller sizes. I liked some of the stuff. This cream has taken me a long time to use because I don’t really like it. It’s very thick and kind of sits greasily on top of my skin. It also smells too natural and floral-y for me.

Grown Alchemist Hydra Repair Day Cream Camellia & Geranium Blossom 65mL via Myer $34.96

I Love… Raspberry and Blackberry Body Butter: This scent is probably my favourite from the brand. As a body butter, it’s pretty standard. It’s not a super thick body butter, but it’s absorbed quickly and does a decent job moisturising. It also smells nice and is cheap. I have no real complaints!

I Love… Raspberry and Blackberry Body Butter 200mL via Priceline $7.99 (frequently on sale; + cashback via CashRewards)

Beauty Empties: July 2016

Beauty empties 2016.07

Missha M Perfect Cover B.B Cream SPF42 PA+++ (23): I remember back in the day when BB creams and K-beauty first took off, this was one of THE products. As I am currently working through old products, I’ve managed to finally finish the last few pumps of this one. I like the texture and the blendability. It’s coverage is lightweight to medium. The reason I stopped using it at the time was actually because I found a different Missha BB cream which I liked more. Shade 23 is relatively close to my skin colour, but the overall finish on the skin is slightly white cast, grey and ash-toned colour. I think this is fairly common from Asian base makeup.

Missha M Perfect Cover B.B Cream SPF42 PA+++ 50mL via Missha AU $32.90; via eBay

I Love… Mango & Papaya Super Soft Hand Lotion: I discovered this brand in a Boots store in Thailand, and fell in love with the smells (plus I’ve always wanted to try more British beauty products). One of the things I brought back was this hand cream. The mango & papaya line is one of my favourite two scents from the brand. It’s a cheap and nice hand cream. It’s not greasy and does a decent job.

I Love… Mango & Papaya Super Soft Hand Lotion 75mL via Priceline $4.99 (+ cashback via CashRewards)

Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner (deep black): I mentioned my other favourite everyday liquid eyeliner that I used up in June. Being from the same company, they could very well be the same formula, but there are subtle differences in the pen and tip (so it’s mostly ergonomics). This one has a smaller and sharper tip, but otherwise it is also super black, super waterproof and doesn’t budge. This also benefits from being in the Dolly Wink range by the popular model, Masuwaka Tsubasa. It seems there have been a lot of updates lately (it’s now called III), but I am cautiously confident it’s very nearly the same product (or I can’t really tell the difference from the original).

Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner III via Sasa US$12.50 (+ cashback via CashRewards); via eBay

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado: I wrote a full review previously. This is probably my favourite eye cream to date because it’s so creamy, moisturising and thick (I actually really like that). As soon as I was running out, I was very genersouly gifted one for my birthday!

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado 14mL via Myer $43

Lush Tea Tree Water: This is my second bottle. I can’t say it’s amazing or anything as I’m not fussy about toners. I tried this initially because it’s name said tea tree water – seriously. I would be a lot more impressed now if it didn’t contain perfume. For a while, I sprayed onto a cotton pad, then I sprayed it directly onto my face, then I spray it into my hand to pat onto my face. I’ve decided I’m not a fan of spray toners and would prefer it to be simpler. It’s a calming toner and helps after cleansing to prep the face for moisture, but there’s nothing else remotely noticeable about it. It feels almost exactly like water and I’m not sure whether I personally like that or not (even if it’s called “water”). I think I’ll probably not be going back to this in the near future.

Lush Tea Tree Water 250g via Lush $19.95

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick “Pure Zen”: This isn’t an “empty” in the usual sense. It melted in the car one summer and the whole lipstick started coming off. Since it’s impossible to use thanks to the dettached bullet, I’ve decided to just throw the product out (finally). Actually I got it in HK a long time ago, in a rush trip to MAC. This was meant to be an easy nude, but I never really liked it. The forumla sits on top of the lips in a patchy layer, exaggerates any and all creases, and slides everywhere. I was pretty disappointed in MAC lipsticks.

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick “Pure Zen” 3g via MAC AU

Mecca Beauty Loop box (& a ramble)

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Last week I became a Beauty Loop L1 member at Mecca, so I will be able to get their quarterly box of samples/deluxe samples. People, I LOVE FREE STUFF!!! I picked up the latest one which just came out this week (good timing!).

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I guess every store has different products. The brochure lists BareMinerals Marvellous Moxie Lipstick in Make Your Move, Korres Wild Rose Face and Eye Serum, By Terry Liftessence: Global Serum, Eye Contour & Daily Cream, Ren Keep Young Firming Lifting Eye Cream, Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Chihuahua, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, Bumble & Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner, Glamglow Powermud Dual Cleanser Mask, and the four I received: Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne To Go, NARS The Multiple in Orgasm, Josie Maran Cosmetics Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter, and Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment. I am fairly excited to try them all. I’m impressed by the concept of the Eradikate individual swabs for acne spots even though it seems pretty inefficient cost-wise, haha. I’ve also never tried Kate Somerville, Josie Maran Cosmetics or Sunday Riley products and have heard great things about those brands!

On a side note, I’ve been thinking about how Australia will ban cosmetics testing on animals from July 2017. Basically it is similar to the EU’s move in 2013 where new products can no longer be tested on animales or have their ingredients tested on animals (other countries have since done it too). I still have many questions about how this is actually working, because the coverage has been rather vague and I would really like to know more details (and the loopholes). Since all the big companies are selling in China and their products are required to be tested before entering the Chinese market, how are they still introducing the same (new) products into the markets that have “banned animal testing”? I’m no expert but I would really love to have this (and other questions) clarified. Anyway I realised I didn’t have much of a point, beyond just wanting a lot more clarification, to warrant a post or anything. I am generally a skeptical person, but it is still a great sign that more and more countries are taking note and putting pressure on companies. Just my two cents. (For the record, I’m not super cruelty-free or anything, and a fair portion of my products I wouldn’t deem cruelty-free. I do my research with a conscious effort, and make a choice based on the options and what I can get.)

Review: NARS Audacious Lipstick “Anita” & “Audrey”

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita (left) | Audrey (right)

I purchased these two from Fresh Fragrances & Cosmetics during a 25% off sale last year. I wanted some extremely long-lasting and budge-proof lipsticks (a neutral-ish shade, and a bold lip red shade) since everything I have doesn’t last that long, and this new formula seemed really promising in terms of pigmentation and lasting power. I pondered for many months over which colours to get, going into Mecca numerous times to see the colours in person and swatch them. Online swatches helped but it’s always better to swatch for yourself, right?

Eventually, after much deliberation, I picked Anita and Audrey, although the latter was hotly contested by Vivien. The shade is not available in Australia though, so I was unable to swatch it. Anita ended up looking just a touch brighter and pinker on my lips than I had wanted, but it’s still a lovely colour. Audrey is a really cool-toned wine-coloured red – definitely bold!

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Anita (top) | Audrey (bottom)

The formulas are exactly what I had hoped for. They are incredibly matte and pigmented, but don’t glide on very easily and actually take some effort to apply, requiring caution and precision. But once on (especially if I tissue blot and apply a second layer), it can last almost the whole day. It looks pretty good even after eating and drinking, which is especially great for the bolder shade, as it doesn’t fade noticeable and obviously in a splotchy manner. Even if I am out the whole day, I wouldn’t feel the need to touch up (a little bit) beyond once or twice, and only after meals. Because it is so matte, it can accentuate dry flakes a little bit, and too many applications in a day can make dry flaky lips worse. Overall I’m really pleased to own both and they are indeed very high quality lipsticks. The packaging is also so chic.

NARS Audacious Lipstick 3.4g via Mecca $48; via Fresh Frangrances & Cosmetics $49 (but occasionally 25% off storewide; + cashback via CashRewards)

NARS is cruelty-free and their products are not sold in China. Their parent company, however, is not cruelty-free.

Beauty empties: June 2016

Empties 2016.06

Koji Line Beat 24h Long Lasting Eyeliner: I use deep black. For the past six-ish years, this and another Koji liquid liner are the only two eyeliners I’ve used (I only tried two others in between). This is a holy grail item for me. It’s so perfect I never think about trying out anything else. I’m so used to the tip and weight of this pen that I can do my liner really quickly every single day. It’s incredibly black, precise, waterproof, doesn’t smudge… did I mention it’s my holy grail? (For some reason I have two others in use at the moment… what?!)

Koji Line Beat 24h Long Lasting Eyeliner via Sasa US$16.60 (+ cashback via CashRewards); via eBay

Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment: I wrote a full review here. The more I used it, the more I disliked it. Mostly I just found the texture so balmy and slippery I couldn’t get the amount I wanted out of the jar! Because of the texture, I also felt like I needed more product to spread around the eye area. This was totally not worth the price tag! Major regrets.

Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment 10mL via Sephora $46 (+ cashback via CashRewards)

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: I use Custard. This concealer is very popular and I completely agree with the hype. It is so creamy, blends really well and has amazing coverage. I use a little concealer brush to press/dab, so it really gets worked into the skin without sliding around. Custard is a perfect match for my face, but when I tried to use it under the eyes at the start, the colour was all off. When I ran out, I purchased the lighter Vanilla shade, hoping that it could do double duty as a face and under eye concealer, but this time it was too light for my spots and hyperpigmentation and that looked bizarre. So I returned it for Custard, because I think it works better for face concealing than under eye concealing anyway (a tad dry for the under eyes). This is pretty darn good product.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer 6.5mL via Mecca $43