Review: Lipstick Queen’s Liptropolis Lipstick Library

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I bought this awesome trio of lipsticks along with my Jungle Queen lipstick a little while ago, and I am now ready to review it for you lovelies :) Becoming reacquainted  with the world of Lipstick Queen means a lot of choice and so I had to make my decisions carefully ;) I bought this trio set because a) the packaging is awesome and it caught my attention straightaway – there’s something Gotham City like about it, and b) the word ‘Liptropolis’ reminded me of Janelle Monae who is the Arch Queen of the Metropolis and I have no doubt what-so-ever that she would approve of said three lipsticks! So the decision was pretty clear to me – I must get thee Lipstick Library set!

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Above: Janelle Monae – because how could I not include a picture of that lovely face? :)

 The concept behind Liptropolis is pretty cool, Poppy (‘The’ Lipstick Queen herself) is now based in New York (not Australia anymore :( ) and she wanted to represent the different ladies in her new ‘home town’ and their neighbourhoods. Each lipstick represents on area of New York and here is what Poppy says about the collection -

“I have often said I can tell if a New York subway train is going up town or downtown by the passengers’ lip color so I decided to put my money where my mouth is and create a trio of lipsticks inspired by the different neighbourhoods of New York City.” Poppy.

The Lipstick Queen website goes on to say -

“Liptropolis tells the story of Lipstick in the City and is a tribute to chic women in cities everywhere! Inspired by the Fritz Lang film Metropolis, with Manhattan as muse, the book opens to reveal a complete New York wardrobe of lipstick shades.

Liptropolis is the first edition in the Lipstick Library – a collectable storybook series of lipstick trios. And now, due to popular demand, these three ultra-wearable shades are available as singles!”

Now each lipstick is supposed to fall somewhere in-between a sheer lipstick and an opaque lipstick, very much like Jungle Queen. I would say like I did with Jungle Queen, that each of these lipsticks is almost fully opaque, but because of the hydrating glossy formula’s, the pigmentation is just a tad short of being fully opaque. The bullets themselves don’t show to much of their true colour – it’s until you swatch the shades or pop them on your lips do you see how different and gorgeous they really are!

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I couldn’t take a decent photo of the inside of the ‘book case’ as it’s all silver and to reflective. The inside contains little slots for all three lipsticks and a quick note from Poppy which goes like this:

“After years of living in New York I have noticed that each neighbourhood has its own signiture lip color that says something about the women who reside there. Lipstick is not just glamour, it tells the story of who you are and where you are going. One every New York street is a woman being sassy and strong, facing challenges, the excitement and the possibilities that make up New York. Volume 1 of my Lipstick Library is a tribute to the women of the city in 3 iconic shades.

SOHO – The Fashionable Red

UPPER EAST – The Elegant Nude

CENTRAL PARK – The Refined Peach

Make them your story. Your new chapter begins here. Lots of love, Poppy (a Lipstick Queen).”

Pretty lovely letter, no? Luckily the lipsticks are just as lovely to!

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From the bullets, all three shades look pretty similar tone and colour wise. When swatched however, they show their true colours ;)

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Left to right: Soho, Central Park & Upper East

Soho in my eyes is a deep plummy pink and super glossy. Central Park is more of a deeper pink than a red and also super glossy. Upper East is different in that while the swatch has a shine to it, I would say it’s the least glossy of the three (it’s almost matte on my lips). I love that all three lipsticks have no shimmer within the lipstick formula, so the colour of lipstick isn’t diffused by silver or gold micro-shimmer (don’t get me wrong, that also has a place in the lipstick world!).

I decided to take a few photos wearing the lipsticks so you could see the shades as they wear!

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 In the photo above I am wearing Soho. I think Soho is my favourite – I cannot lie! The colour is just so pigmented and hydrating that I cannot help loving it. I definitely have a ‘thing’ for brighter lipsticks and this one ticks all the boxes. the gloss does wear down maybe after 2-3 hours, but it wears down evenly and I quite like the stain it leaves on the lips!

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Wearing Central Park in the photo above. A medium toned pink and just as glossy as Soho. It may look slightly red in the photo, but I think what makes this colour interesting is that it is a deeper pink. Perhaps slightly peachy?

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Upper East on my lips above. I was worried that I wouldn’t like this colour at all. Anything that’s classified as a pale nude with a strong peach undertone makes me run for the hills! I think this particular peachy shade works because it is a touch deeper than a ‘traditional’ nude and does have a little pink in it. It’s not so far matte that it looks dry on the lips and it doesn’t feel drying on the lips but after wearing Soho and Central Park you can notice the difference in texture. I personally don’t mind the dryer texture – for a colour like this I think it works because it is so much more of a natural shade. I can actually see myself wearing Upper East to my surprise, though I will have to have a think about what to pair it with (since it is so different from anything I have owned so far!).

Am I happy with this lipstick trio? Hell yes! I also love collectables and even though I will be using the lipsticks so they won’t stay in mint condition, I think the idea of the collection is great. I did see this set at a Kit Cosmetics counter in Sydney CBD (in Myer) a little while ago, however it’s probably tough to find in stores here in Aus (they always tend to have extremely limited supplies which sux). By the time I was decided on buying this set it wasn’t there anymore and I couldn’t find it online (from Aus suppliers). I bought my Liptropolis set along with my Jungle Queen lipstick from SpaceNK. The set costs 40 British Pounds which is a lot (that’s about $75) so each lipstick ends up costing about $25 which is quite reasonable in my eyes. If you live in the States then you can order this set straight from Lipstick Queen’s official website (lucky you!) for $48 US.

I just saw online that a second Lipstick Library volume is available and it’s called Look of Love. I’m not as captured by this second volume as I was with the first (just by looking at the book case and it’s design) so I will have to have a good think about whether or not I will get the second one.

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What do you think of the Liptropolis lipstick trio? Do any of the shades jump out at you and pull your heart strings?

Until next time,

Beauty Bee~

Skincare 101: Three Sunscreens Put to the Test!

It’s been super sunny in Sydney these last couple of days (with today ironically being the exception) and so I think this post will come just in time for you beauties!

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This sunny weather is a reminder that we should be wearing sunscreen everyday (in winter I do struggle with this, which is so very bad of me!). Now might be the best time to really find out which sunscreen suits me best before the summer rays really kick in! I need a reliable every day sunscreen which I can wear under makeup as well as a sunscreen which can be used on the body (on parts which are often exposed to the sun but forgotten about – i.e. the hands, arms and chest area). Sunscreen formulas have become so innovative these days, that it’s worth investing the time and research to find one which will suit your needs perfectly (and maybe even go beyond what you expected!).

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I have three sunscreens which I have been testing out and wanted to share my findings with you. The Invisible Zinc sunscreen is a pure physical sunscreen while the Neova and SkinCeutical sunscreens are a combination of both physical sun blockers and chemical sun blockers. If you are a little confused as to what the difference is between a physical and a chemical sunscreen, check out my Sunscreen 101 post where I break down those difference for you! Today we will go through the plus and minuses of these three particular sunscreens :)

Invisible Zinc Environmental Skin Protector SPF 30+

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A totally physical sunscreen containing 20% Zinc Oxide. This Australian branded sunscreen is probably one of the best mineral sunscreens on the market. Physical sunscreens work by physically blocking out the suns rays (UV light) so sunscreens such as this will form a protective layer/barrier on top of the skin. Physical sunscreens can appear quite white on the skin, but this Invisible Zinc sunscreen isn’t to bad – the white cast of the cream disappears quite quickly. It isn’t super shiny and shouldn’t cause your skin to become overly oily. If you have very oily skin, you could use this sunscreen as your daily moisturiser.

The issue I have with this sunscreen is that is it difficult to blend out the sunscreen around the edges of my face (for example, around the hairline and around my eyes) so you can often see where the sunscreen ‘ends’. Makeup sits quite nicely on top of this sunscreen and it doesn’t slide around during the day. The only major flaw is as I mentioned, the fact that it can be difficult to blend and can thus leave streaky marks on the skin. It has that typical sunscreen scent, but it is quite light, so it isn’t overly offensive.

Pros:

  • Starts protecting your skin from the suns rays immediately after application.
  • Packaging comes with a pump dispenser.
  • Has a light airy texture, which is phenomenal for a mineral/physical sunscreen.
  • White cast disappears quite quickly after application.
  • Good base under makeup.
  • Zinc Oxide is great for sensitive skins (it’s often used in nappy rash creams).
  • Zinc Oxide stops even more UVA rays (the rays that age the skin – UVB rays burn the skin) from penetrating the skin compared to UVB rays, and thus protects the skin from pigmentation better than other sunscreens. In saying this, it is still a broad spectrum sunscreen, so you are protected from both UVA and UVB rays.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to blend. Also leaves streaky marks on the skin/around the hair line.
  • Doesn’t contain any antioxidants in it’s formula – which would help to neutralise free radicals in the skin and help protect/repair cells from sun damage.
  • Has a light traditional ‘sunscreen scent’.

You can buy Invisible Zinc products from your local Woolworth’s and Priceline stores, or from Adore Beauty online for $35.00 for 50ml.

Neova DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44

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I would call this sunscreen a light lotion. It is the lightest sunscreen I ever used! It sinks into the skin so beautifully, leaving a silky, non-tacky texture on the skin, perfect as a base under makeup. It’s oil free but hydrating thanks to the inclusion of sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) which acts as a humectant moisturiser – working in both low and high humidity climates by pulling moisture from the air and trapping it in the skin. It also doesn’t have that traditional sunscreen scent which is quite surprising. It feels like a regular light moisturiser which I know a lot of beauties will appreciate!

The SPF in this sunscreen is made up of both physical sunscreen (Zinc Oxide 8.5%) and chemical sunscreens (Octinoxate 6.5% and Octisalate 2.5%). Most dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen which is a combination of both physical sun blockers and chemical sun blockers when in a high sun exposure environment (like Australia :P) because you get the benefits of both types of sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens neutralise a larger range of UVA and UVB light, however you still get that extra protection from pigmentation marks thanks to the inclusion of Zinc Oxide.

The other major plus of this sunscreen is the inclusion of vitamin C and E – which if in the right concentration, work together to neutralise free radicals. Here is a great explanation from Futurederm of how both work together to get the job done right -

“When vitamin C is combined with vitamin E, it creates a synergistic effect that ends up being more than the sum of its parts. That’s because vitamin C loses electrons as it encounters free radicals and neutralizes them, and vitamin E provides a source of electrons to replenish vitamin C. In fact, as one antioxidant is depleted it can essentially “borrow” an electron from the other and vice versa, helping both antioxidants work better (Cosmetic Dermatology).”

The concentration of vitamin C needs to be higher than 1% in order to work effectively with the vitamin E, but it looks like the Neova sunscreen contains about 4-5% of the stuff! Neova have also gotten the ph levels right when it comes to these antioxidants, so they can effectively penetrate the skin and work their magic! It doesn’t stop there, the Neova sunscreen also contains L- Ergothionene which is also a powerful antioxidant and Photolyase which increases UV protection by 300%  (Photolyase is a type of plankton which are UV light resistant) AND helps repair DNA cell damage. Photolyase needs UV light to be activated and can take up to an hour to work ‘at full speed’ so just keep that in mind.

After ALL of those benefits and pluses, this sunscreen does have a minor flaw. After application I tend to see little white flakes on my skin. I contacted Nicki from Futurederm and she let me know that this is probably desquamation (exfoliation of the skin) caused sometimes by acidic products. It’s not a major issue but I do have to ‘sweep’ these little white flakes off my face using a makeup brush before makeup application. If i didn’t, it would look like I had little teeny tiny bits of paper stuck to my face. Luckily, I didn’t experience any irritation or reddening of the skin.

Pros:

  • Super light-weight, oil free, silky lotion texture. Blends beautifully and easily into the skin.
  • Moisturising without being oily.
  • Great base under makeup.
  • No traditional ‘sunscreen scent’. Only has the faintest scent and it smells like a regular moisturiser to me.
  • Protects the skin from a wide range of UVA and UVB light thanks to a combination of physical and chemical sunscreens.
  • Innovative formula – Contains antioxidant protection at the right quantities, as well as ingredients which help repair skin cells.

Cons:

  • Takes 20 minutes after application to protect fully from the suns rays. Photolyase takes about an hour to fully kick in and must be ‘activated’ by sun exposure/UV light.
  • Desquamation – the tiny little white flakes which appear on the skin after application.

You can buy this Neova sunscreen from the Futurederm shop for $39.00 US dollars  (you will have to add shipping on top of that). The only place where I have found Neova products to be sold in Australia – at a reasonable price – is Fresh Fragrance and Cosmetics. There this sunscreen retails for $64.00 (free shipping and you may be eligible for a discount if you are a member).  The Neova DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday comes in a 74ml tube – so you get a little more product than the Invisible Zinc Environmental Skin protector sunscreen.

 SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum 30+

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The SkinCeuticals sunscreen is another combination of both physical and chemical sunscreens (Zinc Oxide 7% and Octinoxate 7.5%). This formula is also oil-free – thank goodness the days of heavy, oily sunscreens are gone! It has a light cream texture and also has a light traditional sunscreen scent, like the Invisible Zinc sunscreen. It doesn’t leave a white cast on the skin and is easy to blend into the skin. I wouldn’t say it leaves a tacky finish on the skin, but because it is half a physical sunscreen, you can feel a light protective layer sitting on top of the skin, so it doesn’t feel ‘invisible’ say like the Neova sunscreen does.

Pros:

  • Protects the skin from a wide range of UVA and UVB light thanks to a combination of physical and chemical sunscreens.
  • Blends into the skin easily, oil free formula.
  • Good base under makeup.

Cons:

  • Takes 20 minutes after application to protect fully from the suns rays.
  • Doesn’t contain any antioxidants in it’s formula – which would help to neutralise free radicals in the skin and help protect/repair cells from sun damage.
  • Has a light traditional ‘sunscreen scent’.

The SkinCeuticals sunscreen can be purchased online from Adore Beauty for $61.80. It does contain a whopping 90ml of product, so substantially more than the Neova or Invisible Zinc sunscreens. You can also find this sunscreen at Kiss and Makeup NY for $40 US (plus shipping).

So which sunscreen wins out the prize for best everyday sunscreen? For me it’s the Neova sunscreen hands down! Not only does it protect from a wide range of UVA and UVB rays, it also contains antioxidants to help protect my skin even more from UV rays and prevents pigmentation. The innovative formula also helps repair skin cells which may already be damaged. I looove the texture of this sunscreen and the fact that it doesn’t feel like a sunscreen on the skin. Yes the desquamation (what a bizarre word lol!) is a little annoying, but I can live with it thanks to the great formula. The SkinCeuticals and Invisible Zinc sunscreens are still high quality sunscreens and as they don’t leave an oily residue on the skin, they would both work brilliantly on the body. I think I may give my Invisible Zinc sunscreen to my boyfriend and keep the Skinceuticals sunscreen to use on my arms, hands and chest area :)

One last note – it’s a great idea to use a Vitamin C and E serum in the mornings to help boost the UVA protection of your daily sunscreen (that’s the doing of vitamin C ;) ). I love my Futurederm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum (review here). The other goodie is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid Serum. Both serums have synergistic antioxidant capabilities which are also found in the Neova sunscreen (along with other skin benefits – check out the review to learn more!). There’s nothing like prevention when it comes to helping keep your skin UV damage free, plump and healthy looking!

I hope you beauties found this post helpful, let me know if you have any questions and what you look for in a daily sunscreen :)

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Nails of the Day: Trouville & Loop the Loop

Hi beauties! Today I have the quintessential spring time nail look to show you :)

I have only one Nars nail polish in my collection and it’s a creamy light pink (not quite pastel, a touch darker) called Trouville, which is a quaint little French coastal town (Google told me that lol). The pink can be a little sheer, so two coats is a must. On some nails where I had been a little messy (painting your nails in a rush never ends well lol) I painted on three coats in order to even out any ‘mistakes’. Luckily the nail polish formula is quite thin so you won’t end up with a gluggy mess.

The yellow nail polish called Loop the Loop is from Ciate, and it is the most gorgeous vibrant pastel yellow (or is that an oxymoron?). It isn’t streaky at all and also isn’t to thick or to runny. I reviewed Loop the Loop a little while ago as I received it in a set together with some nail caviars (check out that review here). Together, the pink and yellow make the perfect combination – perfect for sunny spring days!

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Both nail polishes are high quality and last about a week on the nail (but they must be paired with a good base and top coat!). Nars Trouville isn’t a colour I would usually go for, but this salmon-y pink is quite lovely and I like it so much more than I thought I would (I think I originally bought it because it was on sale so I figured it would be a good way to try Nars nail polish!). I looove Ciate nail polishes – they call them ‘paint pots’ which is cute! All the Ciate colours I have tried so far have been outstanding (I’ve also tried a pastel blue called ferris wheel which I still need to review and a bright mid-toned blue called skinny jeans). Neither nail polish is cheap but they are very lovely to use. You can find Ciate paint pots at Kit Cosmetics and Mecca Cosmetica for $18.00. I bought my Nars nail polish from Kiss and Makeup NY however, because they release nail colours seasonly, they can be a little hard to get a hold of once a given season has passed. I always expect a decent nail polish to last a week on my nails and these do the job well :)

Have you tried any Nars or Ciate nail polishes? What is your go to spring colour? Let me know in the comments below! :)

Catch ya next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Coconut Magic: Lonvitalite C4 Coconut Milk Mask

Happy Monday beauties! <3

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I recently found another great coconut oil based product thanks to Angie from the Maquillage <3 She was raving about these coconut sheet masks made by a company from Queensland (Lonvitalite) and I couldn’t resist trying them out for myself as they sounded delicious amongst other things lol

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When it comes to sheet masks I’m a bit ‘meh’ about them. I’ve tried a few Korean sheet masks before and the results were quite ‘modest’ (hydrating but not amazingly so). Angie mentioned that this coconut milk mask leaves your skin incredibly soft and smooth thanks to the inclusion of coconut milk and oil in the masks ingredients. Coconut oil is one of the few oils which is absorbed by the skin easily (oils like almond, avocado, castor and olive, are occlusive moisturisers which only trap existing moisture into the skin – so if your skin is dehydrated, they won’t do you to much good) as it acts as an emollient which increases the amount of water your skin can hold, while binding water and oil in the skin (argan oil also does this). The only trick to this is that you can’t go nuts with the oil as somehow if you apply it to liberally and thickly, the oil will bind to itself and become occlusive. This particular sheet mask is perfect because the coconut oil and milk is suspended in a light serum.

Here is what Lonvitalite claim the mask does:

“Lonvitalites C4 Coconut Milk Mask penetrates into the deep layers of the skin to strengthen the underlying layers. Coconut oil is well known for its highly effective moisturising properties, supporting the natural chemical balance of the skin. 

Helps to relieve and prevent dryness and flaking of skin, sagging of skin and age spots. Helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines by helping to keep connective tissues strong and supple. Assists with acne, helping to dissolve obstructions to the skin.”

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Each mask comes in an individual foil sachet/packet which means that the ingredients stay fresh. It’s recommended to keep the mask on for 20 minutes but you can most certainly keep it on for longer without hesitation. The instructions say to rinse the skin with clear water once you take off the sheet mask, but I don’t this – I leave the serum residue on my skin, massaging it in a little and then pop on a moisturiser on top. This sheet mask does leave your skin incredibly hydrated and smooth. Oh so smooth! The additional ingredients of allentoin and panthenol soothe irritated and inflammed skin (great for sensitive reactive skin types). Niacinimide (also known as vitamin B3) is one of my favourite ingredients because it epidermal barrier function (and hence is great for acne and inflammed skin) and helps diminish hyper-pigmentation with regular use.

These sheet masks have a light coconut scent to them and I find the scent to be quite lovely (I can’t stand the scent of over powering artificial coconut). The material of the sheet mask is super moist and soft, so keeping this mask attached to your face (lol!) isn’t a problem – it won’t suddenly flop off into your food should you be snacking/eating while wearing this mask :P They are also generous with the serum within each sheet mask, luckily so because it isn’t the cheapest mask on the market. In saying that though, I do think it is worth the pennies, especially if like me you don’t have the chance to have professional facials regularly (or ever). A box of 5 of these sheet masks costs $36 Aus gold coins. Each mask works out to cost $7.20 – not the cheapest but like I said, worth the treat if DIY facials/skin care treatments are your thing. As long as you cleanse thoroughly before applying this mask to your skin, your skin will be smoothed, soothed, hydrated and oh so happy with your efforts :) I’ve been trying to use one of these masks once weekly and so far I’ve been able to stick to this plan! In summer this mask will be lovely and soothing on parched, sun stressed skin while in winter the hydration would be very much needed.

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I bought my pack of Coconut Milk Masks from the official Lonvitalite online shop – but seeing as they charge postage, I recommend buying your Lonvitalite masks from Adore Beauty if you live in Australia (they provide free shipping on all orders). I wasn’t aware that Adore Beauty was selling Lonvitalite products when I ordered mine directly from Lonvitalite. In saying that, Lonvitalite ship internationally and they processed my order super quickly. You can also order a pack of all of their face sheet mask offerings for only $29.00 (the pack contains 5 different sheet masks).

Lonvitalite C4 Coconut Milk Mask Ingredients: Aqua, Butylene Glycol, Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Extract, Sweet Almond Oil, Sea Coconut Extract, Panthenol, Yeast Beta-Glucan, Allantoin, Carboner, Niacinamide, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Triethanolamine, Peg-40 Hydrogenarated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Parfum.

Along with my Hello Hair mask, I think coconuts are serving me well! Are you a fan of coconut oil or sheet masks? How was your weekend lovelies? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to know! :) I spent my whole Sunday sleeping – literally. It was soooo good! I don’t have many weekends like that anymore, so it’s a lovely treat :) I actually feel rested for the week ahead and I haven’t felt like this in a while :)

Catch ya next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Review: Lipstick Queen’s Jungle Queen Lipstick

Lipstick Queen was founded by Australian lipstick entrepreneur – Poppy King. Even though she is now based in New York, I actually remember her lip products being available in Myer, in the 90s when I was a kid (you may also remember that Myer was known as Grace Bros. in NSW back in the day!). My sister is older than me by 6 years, so I used to follow her into the beauty section of this department store and be amazed at the selection of lip glosses available loI! remember my sister purchasing these lipgloss pots (similar to a lip lacquers, with a super high shine finish) and I would always snap up one of the Lipstick Queen’s product brochures (though if my memory is correct, I think Poppy used her name as the brand name?) and imagined owning all the vivid colours…. Each colour available in the line was represented by a different coloured poppy (yes I remember details – brochures are still my thing haha). After the 90s, Poppy’s products disappeared from department stores and only a few years ago did I realise she had rebranded her line and released a new series of lip products. Thankfully, most of her line is available here in Australia. You can buy her products from Kit Cosmetics and Mecca Cosmetica, but I do wish we could order directly from her official-US based site as Kit and Mecca run out of stock very quickly and don’t carry every product from the Lipstick Queen line. Lipstick Queen has informed me that they are working on providing international shipping – so I hope us beauty bees can order Poppy’s products directly from the US soon!

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My first purchase from Lipstick Queen’s line is the lipstick Jungle Queen. I’m so so happy I started off with this lipstick as it is the perfect coral colour for all beginners (if you are afraid of both orange or red) and pros! It’s one of those shades which is supposed to look fabulous on everyone. I’m never quite sure if this is true, however it does have a neutral undertone, so theoretically it should suit everyone. It’s such a delicious shade, that I have no doubt it will be my spring/summer staple! The concept of the lipstick and packaging is just fun, I can’t help being drawn to it and imagining myself far away, in a tropical paradise… :)

This is what Lipstick Queen says about Jungle Queen -

“Two things that epitomize glamour in my mind are animal prints and lipstick. And Jungle Queen is a fresh and chic new way to combine the two!” Poppy King

“A color-popping coral suspended in a super-nourishing formulation, Jungle Queen flatters all complexions and is 100% fabulous when paired with your favorite big cat prints. Rrrroar!

  • Semi-sheer, moisturizing formula enriched with nourishing Natural Oils
  • Ultra-protective antioxidant Vitamin E conditions and hydrates the lips
  • Super-flattering hint of luminescence plays beautifully against animal prints”

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I agree that the lipstick is more pigmented than a regular sheer lipstick but it isn’t totally opaque. It’s super glossy and and smooth, which means that it is super easy to apply and isn’t drying on the lips. The staying power of this lipstick is also quite impressive – because it is so glossy, I thought it would disappear from my lips after I ate and it didn’t! I ate some fried tofu along with a Korean sauce, and trust me when I say that the sauce goes everywhere!  The lipstick was still half there I would say (which is a miracle in my eyes after the meal I ate) and it had faded evenly – no awful outline on the lips looking like a 90s horror movie!

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The colour of this lipstick is a coral (or as Lipstick Queen puts it – Papaya Coral!), so it’s in between a pink and red. It’s mid toned – so it’s still quite bright and packs a punch! Usually the first time you wear such a bright colour, you feel uncomfortable and a little bit shocked (the colour can be a shock if you’re used to wearing nude-toned down colours. If you wear the lipstick around the house first for a few hours, you begin to not only see it on your lips, but also how it fits in with your look as a whole. The shock wears off and before you know it – you are rocking the lipstick. The lipstick doesn’t own you, you own the lipstick ;)

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Above: Swatch of Jungle Queen lipstick.

I remembered reading that Lipstick Queen’s lipstick bullets look plastic and they really do! You could be mistaken thinking that the lipstick isn’t real and that it’s just a display prop, but it’s very real :) The lipstick isn’t scented per se, so it only has a very very faint scent (plastic-y?) but I suppose that’s because they haven’t scented the lipstick up with perfume. It doesn’t have a taste either from what I can tell.

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Above: Wearing Jungle Queen on my lips.

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Above: Jungle Queen in all her glory!

I love this lipstick so much – the texture, shine and colour is perfect for carefree summer days! Jungle Queen isn’t a limited edition lipstick from what I can tell, however Australian stocks are out atm (Kit Cosmetics/Mecca Cosmetica let me know that it will be back in stock by the end of September but if you wish to secure a lipstick, I’d send them an email asking to be put on the ‘waiting list’ just to be sure). When it is in stock is costs $27 clams, which is very reasonable :) If you can’t wait until Australian stocks replenish themselves – you can purchase Jungle Queen from Space NK in the UK now for £20.00 (this works out to be about $37 Aus dollars). I ordered my lipstick from Space NK and shipping was fast and easy (shipping costs £5). Space NK also stock the full range of Lipstick Queen products, which I whole heartedly appreciate :) I’m dying to try a Silver Screen lipstick, but they are a little expensive so I will have to wait until I can justify the purchase (but the packaging is so divine!).

I’m becoming inspired by jungle/tropical prints atm and I think it’s exactly what I needed to start painting again!

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Do you remember Lipstick Queen from the 90s? Have you tried any Lipstick Queen lip products?

Catch ya next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

New Goodies from Sephora & Forwarding Service Review

I made an order from Sephora recently and wanted to share my new goodies with you beauties!

Some of you may ask how I ordered from Sephora when they don’t ship to non US addresses. Well, I finally gave in and tried a parcel forwarding service – WS1 to be exact. I’m so pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and will be using the service again without hesitation. You pay a joining fee ($25 US for a standard membership, so this is a one off payment) and then WS1 provide you with a US mailing address. You use this address as your own, whenever making orders online from sites which don’t ship overseas.

When your parcel arrives at your US post box, WS1 send you an email to alert you that the package has arrived. Then you have the option to pick a shipping method and once you have paid for said shipping, they ship it out to you very quickly. They only ship via courier, so that means that shipping is going to be a little more expensive then say regular economical post – but this also means your goods won’t take weeks and weeks to arrive. I picked express shipping for my first order since I want to try out all the shipping options available and see which suits me best. I paid $35 Aus dollars for my shipping to Aus (shipping from Sephora to my US post box was free). That is a lot (for the goodies listed below) but I have paid around the $20 mark before for slow shipping from the US, so at least the $35 included insurance and was incredibly fast! How fast? Get this – I picked a shipping option on Friday and paid for my express shipping that same day. My order arrived on Monday! It took one weekend to get to me from the US! That’s pretty friken amazing if you ask me! Next time I pay for the parcel forwarding service I will pick economy post, however I have a feeling it will be super quick also (maybe it will take around a week instead of 2 days?).

The one small glitch I have had with WS1’s service is that their site can be a little temperamental when processing credit card payments. I found that the site doesn’t function to well in my Chrome browser, but works much better when opened in Firefox. I have to give credit to WS1 for answering all of my emails in a timely fashion – even when I probably asked some silly basic questions. I don’t have any hesitations recommending their service at this point in time. I will of course let you know how their economy shipping option fairs once I place a second order (maybe I will order something from Nordstrom next? Hello cheaper Chanel!).

Some beauties may be also wondering why I am ordering from Sephora in the US when Sephora is planning to open a store here in Sydney in December (I’ve even seen where it will be located on Pitt St and they’re already building on the site). Firstly, while Sephora said they will match their Aus prices to those in the US – I won’t believe it till I see it lol I can’t see Sephora selling cosmetics for half price compared to department store prices here in Aus. I do think it will bring much needed competition to the Aus market, but I’m not getting ahead of myself just yet.

Now on to the extra fun part – what did I get from Sephora? Let’s take a look! :D

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Above: My goodies in their boxes

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Above: My goodies without their boxes.

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics $29.00 US dollars.

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I included the original Naked Basics palette in my August favourites post and so I was soooo excited to buy the 2nd version. All the shade are taupey- browns which should work super well on fair skin tones. Even the darkest shade in the palette (Undone) is a dark graphic grey instead of black which I love (it’s less harsh than black). I can’t wait to play around with this palette!

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion $58 US dollars.

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I needed a new day moisturiser as my Dior Hydralife Pro-Youth Silk Creme is almost all used up. I love the Dior Hydralife range of moisturisers, but I just wanted to try something new! I haven’t tried Dr. Dennis Gross skincare before, but it looks like a decent cosmoceutical range. I love that this Dr. Dennis Gross moisturiser looks like a gel – it will be perfect for the upcoming summer and one of the main reasons I purchased it!

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The jar is a heavy plastic – I do prefer glass as it’s more fancy (like the Dior moisturiser jars) but I’m sure I’ll get over this point lol the cream also smells super fresh and fruity (there’s lots of fruit extracts in the moisturiser which is cool). I can’t wait to start using it!

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer $20 US dollars and Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer $29.00 US dollars.

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I currently use the NARS Pro Prime eyeshadow primer but it’s running low and I was curios about this Smashbox 24 hour eyeshadow primer. I was even more curious about the under eye concealer primer – hopefully it makes my concealer look flawless! As someone who struggles with under eye circles, if this primer helps my concealer look better and last longer, I will be a happy camper!

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye 1.5 $28 US dollars.

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I mentioned above that I suffer from terrible under eye circles and am still looking for my HG concealer – here’s to hoping it’s the Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye! it’s supposed to be full/high coverage so I can’t wait to try it out along with my Smashbox under eye concealer primer!

Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow $32.00 US dollars.

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I’ve heard mixed reviews about these foil like eye shadows, however I read quite a few good reviews suggesting to not use the primer which comes with the shadow (a teeny tiny bit of primer is included anyway) and to either use the shadow dry or wet for added oomphf! I think also not using to much will be key. I tested out the shadow on the back of my hand and it’s amazingly shiny and different to anything else I’ve tried. It has like a gel-mousse like texture which is supper concentrated and super shiny (it reminds me of melted molten rock or something)! My ‘shadow’ came stuck to the lid rather than the pot itself, but this shouldn’t be a huge hassle. It’s kinda wet and gel like so it doesn’t go everywhere when I open it up (hence why I don’t mind it being stuck to the lid). You don’t get a lot for your $32 dollars – in saying that, it’s not a shadow I would use daily and it is very unique. I bought the colour Vintage Black Gold and it’s beautiful!

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Sephora always includes a few samples in every order and here are what I got :)

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So what do you beauties think of my new goodies? Have you tried any of the products above? Or perhaps you’ve used a parcel forwarding service before? Leave me a comment below :)

Until next time,

Beauty Bee~

Beauty Blush Playground No. 5: Chanel Blush #71 Malice

I’d never owned a Chanel blush until recently. I kept seeing Chanel’s blush in Malice pop up on different blogs because even though it is a permanent blush colour in their range, it was repromoted in their current summer campaign. I looooved it from the moment I saw photos of it – it reminded me of a muted pink-red sunset! Now it’s not summer just yet in Sydney, but we can dream right? :)

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I wouldn’t usually spend so much on a blush – but I did secretly want to see what all the fuss was about when it comes to Chanel blushes. I was able to purchase my Chanel blush for cheaper from Fresh Fragrances & Cosmetics (their prices are generally cheaper than department stores and they provide free shipping for all orders – win!).

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I love how classically beautiful and simple Chanel’s packaging is. I do wish the compact was heavier though. I know that more weight isn’t always so practical, but super light plastic just doesn’t feel ‘luxe’ to me. Luckily it still looks divine though!

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Now to the blush itself – the powder is super finely milled, so it is easy to pick up to much blush and powder does seem to go everywhere. The powder is surprisingly silky feeling – when I go to take a swatch of the blush with my finger, I can literally feel how soft and delicate the powder is. The formula is just gorgeous, so while you have to be a little bit careful with ‘fall out’ it feels pretty special. And that’s part of makeup’s charm isn’t it? To make us feel a little bit more special and bright!

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Malice is a difficult colour to describe (and the name makes me think of a super villain lol) – but I wouldn’t describe it as a pink or peach, but rather a light red, softened by fine gold micro shimmer (making the blush appear a little peachy in the pan). The shimmer isn’t noticeable on the skin – but you can see even in the pan how the colour glows! The brush which comes with the blush is ok, it’s quite soft compared to a lot of other ‘free’ brushes. I don’t think the shape is ideal for applying blush (it concentrates the colour to much in one spot) or blending, but for on the go and for touch ups, it’s ok!

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Above: A swatch of Chanel’s blush in #71 Malice.

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Above: Wearing Chanel’s blush in Malice #71 on my cheeks.

Another curiosity of mine was finding out how Bourjois blushes compare to Chanel blushes (apparently they are both made in the same factory – if that wonderful fact is true, that’s one happy place!). Two of my Bourjois blushes are actually similar to Malice in colour range, however Lilas D’or is way more shimmery (containing red and gold micro shimmer) while Rose Frisson is a lighter pink compared to Malice.  Bourjois blushes also smell like rosey baby powder, while my Chanel blush smells like straight up rose water. I actually prefer the Bourjois scent but that’s clearly a minor detail lol A part of me does love that both blush ranges have been given a scent – that’s fine detailing for you!

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Swatches from left to right: Chanel blush in Malice #71, Bourjois blush in Rose Frisson #54 and Bourjois blush in Lilias D’or #33.

Do I think the Chanel blush was worth the pennies? I think so :) It’s quite a unique colour and I love appreciating it for what it is. I won’t be rushing out to buy a heap of these – that would somehow make the feeling of this blush a little less special (for me anyways). So I will marvel at this one blush colour for now :)

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Speaking of special… this poppy sprung up in my garden recently and isn’t it marvellous?!?! <3

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Do you own any Chanel blushes? Do you have any favourite shades/recommendations? If you haven’t yet, come over and like my Facebook page and Instagram account so we can keep in touch more! :D

Until next time beauty bees!

Beauty Bee~

Review: Zoeva Luxe Complete Set

I know there has been quite a few Zoeva brush reviews going around, however I couldn’t say no to saying a few words about them myself :) I’ve been trying to update my brush collection for a while now and after buying a few single Hakuhodo brushes (which I still do love) I thought that updating each and every brush I own in this way would take me a long time (because they ain’t the cheapest and you have to factor in shipping for every separate order). I started hearing about Zoeva brushes on Polish beauty blogs a while ago now, and I was really impressed by the reviews I was reading. Zoeva is a German brand which started off producing only makeup brushes. They now also have their own makeup line (I’m eyeing off the eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks next!) but their makeup brushes still tend to be the most popular offerings of theirs – with good reason!

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I kept hearing about their Luxe Complete Set most often, which contains 15 makeup brushes in total (5 face brushes and 10 eye and brow brushes) for about $150 Aus dollars. It may sound like a lot at first, but if you break down the cost it’s actually very reasonable – each brush then comes in at around $10 each. I definitely don’t know any other brand that does such great quality brushes for that price! The quality of these brushes beats Sigma makeup brushes hands down (a US company that sells a wide range of makeup brushes for very reasonable prices) and I would go so far as to say that they remind me of Hakuhodo brushes! The makeup brush handles are as light and as comfortable to hold as Hakuhodo brushes. Each and every brush is incredibly soft and never pulls at the skin (this might be a concern if you love to blend, blend, blend!). I only own one MAC makeup brush – the 109 synthetic face brush – and while it’s ok, it’s a little scratchy which for an expensive makeup brush is pretty lame. While I know that MAC does make some great makeup brushes, I think they are generally over priced and the quality isn’t always as high as it should be.

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On another aesthetics level, I love that most of Zoeva’s makeup brushes are white haired – there’s something about white haired brushes that appeals to me (maybe because once they are dirty you can see that they need a wash or you can see what product you used with it). The makeup pouch that comes with the brushes is also lovely – it doesn’t feel cheap and it’s a decent size. I love the hot pink lining on the inside!

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Above: The 5 face makeup brushes in the Luxe Complete Set from left to right: 101 Luxe Face Definer, 126 Luxe Cheek Finish, 105 Luxe Highlight, 102 Silk Finish and 142 Concealer Buffer.

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Above: 5 eye makeup brushes from left to right: 221 Luxe Soft Crease, 227 Luxe Soft Definer, 231 Luxe Petit Crease, 224 Luxe Defined Crease and 234 Luxe Smoky Shader

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Above: 5 eye and brow makeup brushes from left to right: 322 Brow Line, 315 Fine Liner, 317 Wing Liner, 228 Crease and 230 Luxe Pencil .

This set comes in at 115 Euros, which like I said, totals to about $150 Aus dollars (depending on thecurrency conversion rate of the day). Another plus is that when you choose Australia as your shipping destination, the brush set cost lowers itself so that you don’t pay more than 115 Euros for the brush set and shipping. Whether or not you consider yourself to be a makeup enthusiast or makeup addict – this set really does have everything you could need as a beginner or pro! Oh – and during washing, I haven’t found that my Zoeva brushes shed (unlike you MAC 109 face brush!).

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I bought my Zoeva Luxe Complete Set from their official website here. I emailed Zoeva a few times because I had a small issue with the shipping of my order (my post office was holding my parcel for me without letting me know, so I thought something unfortunate had happened to my parcel – but it hadn’t luckily :P ) and the customer service was great – the lady who responded to my emails was super lovely!

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I can’t recommend these brushes highly enough – so if you can afford it and are looking for some new brushes to last you a good while, definitely check out the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set! You can of course buy single brushes as well as other brush sets, so check out their website here if you want to have a bit of a snoop :)

Do any of the Zoeva products/brushes take your fancy? :) Let me know in the comments below!

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Review: Trilogy’s Jua Natural Perfume

I love it when brands are able to create something unique and at the same time help developing communities around the world <3 I went onto Trilogy’s official website wanting to buy their new Hydra-Tone Softening Lotion for my mum (it’s a super hydrating toner suspended in a gel like formula), which I did, but I also saw their new limited edition natural perfume called Jua, created by So They Can for Trilogy. So They Can help communities in Africa start up their own sustainable businesses and not only did Trilogy purchase pure sunflower extract/oil from one of these businesses in Tanzania, they will also give back $2 for every perfume sold to So They Can, to help fund more projects like this!

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While reading into the information available about the product development of Jua, I was struck by the amount of effort and thought that went into creating this perfume. This perfume really does make you feel like you are holding a little piece of Africa in your hands! From the name, to the packaging and the ingredients, it really is something special. The perfume only costs $21.95 for 7.5ml, so I bought it without really thinking about whether or not I will like it (considering that it’s for a good cause and not very expensive). Sunflowers remind me of summer days when I was little, as we’d always have a few sunflowers pop up in the garden. White cockatoos would always spot the sunflowers and come and eat the seeds (my pet parrot – a gala – won’t eat any other seeds but sunflower seeds, so that makes up the bulk of her diet!). Cockatoos are super noisy and vocal, so they would always put a smile on your face (they are very social to!).  Sunflowers now also remind me of the plane that was shot down over the Ukraine, but I think if we remember that they can also bring so much joy and good to our lives, that makes the painful associations with them less so. A dream of mine is to run through a sunflower field – so I really hope to be able to do that one day!

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Jua means ‘to know’ and sun in Swahili, which is perfect considering that the main ingredient of this perfume is sunflower oil/extract. The graphic design on the bottle of the perfume is made up of different symbols representing the different projects So They Can is involved with in Africa. Here are the symbols and the meaning behind them (created by Tamsyn Standaeven):

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From top to bottom:

Bead work – enterprise education and micro-financing for adults (and So They Can’s Aberdare Ranges Primary School logo).

School, home, shelter – places of learning and safety for children (So They Can’s Helping Hand Children’s Home).

Books, learning, enterprise – sustainable self-sufficiency through education and enterprise.

Sunflowers, business, livelihood – enterprise education, efficient farming practices and sustainability.

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The scent is surprisingly very different to anything I have owned before. It very much smells like sunflowers, except that the scent is obviously more intense. I think the freesia notes in the perfume are also quite distinct and the perfume has this floral but earthy tone to it. I’m terrible at describing scents, so I think as with any other perfume, what you smell and recognise may be different! Sunflower seed oil is the first ingredient in the ingredient list (for obvious reasons) but the other notes in the perfume are: bergamot, rose bouguet, freesia (top notes), apricot, frankincense, mint (middle notes) and cedar wood bark, vetyver and vanilla (base notes). I have a feeling that mums and grandmothers may also love this scent because of the depth in the perfume (it isn’t sickly sweet by far).

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On the inside of the box there’s a little mention to the African philosophy of Ubuntu which means that we are who we are because of our connection to others, and this is what makes us happy. That philosophy and thought is so beautiful it really touched me and got me thinking. It’s most definitely something we forget living in big cities, where the collective isn’t given priority but rather individual needs are, which can be so disconnected from the way they impact those around us.

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This perfume is limited edition, so I suggest you beauties move quick sticks to get your paws on one! If you live in Aus, Trilogy will ship this scent from NZ to you for free (here) :) This is most definitely a beauty purchase that is helping whole communities in their journey to a better life – so it’s great to be a part of that. If you would like to see a video of the community you are helping by purchasing this scent, you can check out the video below!

Are you a fan of sunflowers? Do they remind you of anything in particular? Let me know in the comments below – it would make my day! :)

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Beauty Blush Playground No. 4: MAC Modern Mandarin

Welcome beauties, to another new stop on the blush carousel!

Now this is a blush that looks soooo gorgeous and juicy, that I bought it on a whim – even though I wasn’t totally convinced that I could wear it and pull it off! Just look at the brightness and intensity of that colour! Luckily, it’s not very red toned, which means that the tones of the blush aren’t tooo deep and so lighter complexions should technically be able to pull it off. One draw back with a shade like this is that if you have any red in your skin, this blush may amplify it and may appear muddy on the cheeks (if your cheeks are especially red). As long as you take care of your base makeup, so that it covers any redness (an additional green corrector may help with this) you should be fine girl!

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Modern Mandarin is a satin finish MAC blush, so it has a gorgeous sheen to it without any obvious shimmer. It is intensely pigmented – so darker toned ladies should be happy with the intensity of this colour (nothing wishy washy here!). I’ve never owned an orange blush before (though I do have Benefit’s Cha Cha tint which is an orange – but it’s very subtle) so after applying this blush to my cheeks for the first time I was a little worried that it didn’t suit me. It didn’t look bad per se – it was just very different to what I was used to. I wore it around the house and to the shops to run errands and throughout the day I noticed how sun kissed my complexion looked (that’s a good thing!). I do recommend being very gentle when applying this blush to your cheeks (it’s very very easy to go overboard) but I think that sometimes we don’t give new products/colours more chances to surprise us. I’m loving this blush more and more each time I wear it, which is such a surprise! <3

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This shade no doubt will look extraordinary in summer along with a tan! But even if you don’t tan (or try not to) this blush will bring that sunshine to your face (hence why so many bronzers are orange based browns). In saying that though – because it isn’t a brown and because you can be light handed with it – it shouldn’t make you look like an oompa loompa. You also probably won’t also be putting this all over your face, so that risk should be actually quite small ;)

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Above: A swatch of Modern Mandarin. The swatch looks a little darker in the photo than it does in real life. What you can see is the gorgeous sheen! 

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I have been using me new Zoeva Luxe Cheek Finish brush with this blush and it works beautifully. It is super soft and quite densely packed for a blush brush. Because of this, I tend to use one side of the brush to distribute the colour over my cheek, and then the other clean side of the brush to blend out any tell tale edges.

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Above: Wearing Modern Mandarin on my cheeks. The blush is brighter in person – but hopefully you can see how it doesn’t clash to much tone wise with my skin. I have used a cool toned brown to contour with (Anastasia Beverly Hills contour powder in Fawn) and cool toned browns on my eyes (with a dash of Modern Mandarin added in). It works surprisingly well combined with cool toned browns and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work alongside warm tones either! 

Modern Mandarin is now a permanent blush colour in MACs blush line. Remember that makeup should be an adventure and should make your ROAR (when you feel like it ;) )! :D

Have you ever worn an orange blush before? Any recommendations for me?

Catch ya at the next stop on the blush carousel beauties ;)

Beauty Bee~