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~

August Favourites

YAY – spring has finally arrived beauty bees! Sometimes it’s the little things in life that remind you that there’s so many happy moments around, we just have to look and find them!  That’s going to be my motto for this month, especially since everything’s coming to life already! Shiny and colourful beauty products also help, especially for those beauty bees living in the northern hemisphere (since summer is coming to an end for you) ;)

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This is my second monthly favourites post. I won’t usually have truck loads of products to show you as my staple makeup and skin care products stay roughly the same over time. So if I show you something in this type of monthly post, I can confirm that I really, really love it!

So what is in my goodie bag this month?

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The surprise favourite of the month are the Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes. I looooved the Olay cleansing wipes (they came in a light blue rectangle shaped pack) and they came in versions for oily skin and normal skin. I loved them because they were super cheap (I think they were like 6 or 7 dollars), you got about 25 wipes if I remember correctly and mostly importantly for me, they were really moist and felt wonderful on the skin. I hate it when face wipes feel dry and rough – I think that’s awful (they can feel like sandpaper). As it turns out, I think they don’t make them anymore, so I was at a loss as to what face wipes to try from the supermarket. I grabbed the Simple branded ones because the pack looked reasonably sized and I only paid about 5 to 6 dollars for them (so even cheaper than the Olay ones!). They are surprisingly lovely to use! I use face wipes after a long day out, when I get home to get grime and makeup off my face quickly (then later on in the evening I’ll cleanse properly). These help to refresh my skin, are nice and moist and remove makeup well! Apparently my pack contain new improved facial wipes which are even softer than previous Simple wipes. Yay for me!

Next up we have my Urban Decay Naked Basics eyeshadow palette. This palette contains 6 eyeshadows which are perfect for creating everyday eye makeup look. I use this palette constantly, which is rare for me when it comes to eyeshadows. I probably use W.O.S the most as an overall eyelid colour/base (though these days I’ve started mixing W.O.S with Foxy, just to brighten the eye area a bit more and get some more use out of Foxy. Foxy on it’s own is a little to yellow for me) and then Naked 2 as a crease colour. I looove that Naked 2 is a cool toned taupey-brown. Cool toned browns look most natural on me because I’m so fair (even though my skin is neutral toned), so I will probably run out of this colour the quickest. Venus is the only non-matte eyeshadow in the palette and makes a lovely highlight shade (without chunks of glitter – I think that over highlighting the eye area looks awful). Faint is also a cool toned brown, but I would call it a medium to dark brown, and Crave is a classic matte black shadow. It’s just perfection! <3

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My palette looks a little manky, only because I have used it soooo much! If you live in Aus, where Urban Decay is not available, you can find it on Look Fantastic (a UK based website) which provides free world wide shipping on all orders (and you can pay in Aus dollars) :)

My next favourite is my Avon Anew Clinical CC Cream (which I reviewed previously here). It’s a little bit exxy for an Avon product because it does cost $30 clams, but boy is it worth it. It’s the first CC/BB cream that I have tried which actually provides some coverage without being weirdly yellow or orange tinted! I would say it has a very neutral colour base. It does only come in one shade which is a little downer, however if you can get away with it, definitely give it a go! This CC cream will cover redness and blotchiness and just even out your skin tone beautifully (providing a satin finish). It contains an SPF of 25 which is also great! The only other possible problem I see with this CC cream (besides it’s lack of shade selection) is it’s availability. While everyone can get their hands on Avon these days, it hasn’t been featured in the last couple of brochures and I’m not sure why. They did just release a new CC cream (Skin Goodness CC Cream) which is half the price (so $15), however if it’s a permanent product, I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be in the catalogue somewhere. The good news is that it hasn’t been shown in the sale catalogue which usually let’s you know what products will be discontinued. As soon as it shows itself again, I will be snapping up a few of these!

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I did buy the cheaper CC cream to see how it faired next to the Anew version, and while the new CC cream comes in a variety number of shades and has an spf factor of 30+, the coverage is really, really minimal. I bought the CC cream in the shade nude, which is a little light for me, however this doesn’t matter much because it’s barely visible on the skin (and hence it doesn’t cover redness or blotchiness). I’d give the cheaper CC cream a pass. I compared the two CC creams beside each other just as a shade reference for you!

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Above: Avon’s Anew CC cream is on the left and the Avon Skin Goodness CC cream in Nude is on the right. 

While the CC cream is great for mornings where I am in a rush and so tired that I’ve slept in a little longer than I should have – on mornings where I have more time and want my makeup to be a little more polished, I can’t go past my number one foundation (and only foundation really) – YSL’s Le Teint Touche Eclat in BD40.

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This foundation is gorgeous – it feels light on the skin and has a luminous dewey finish. I would say this foundation provides medium coverage, however you can build it up. I like a very natural finish, so even though this foundation gives your skin a lovely glow, I still always add in a few drops of hydrating serum into my foundation. This not only makes my foundation bottle last me forever – it gives me the perfect finish I am after and my foundation base protects my skin. Hydrated skin is the most youthful in my opinion, so if you can get away with doing this, I totally recommend it. A light layer of finishing powder keeps everything in place :) My current choice of hydrating serum is Dior’s Hydra Life Youth Essential Concentrated Sorbet Essence. I don’t wear foundation everyday, so my products really do last me months and months!

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This Dior hydrating serum almost feels like a very light gel. It isn’t oily and has a very light, fresh floral scent. This 30ml pump bottle will last you forever! I am not kidding. I’ve had mine for a good year now – and I’ve just almost used up half of my bottle. I should also add, that I always use this serum combined with my foundation – and I probably use about 2-3 drops (light pumps). Fancy, but oh so economical!

That’s it for this month my beauties! Happy September and I have a feeling we are going to have a great month :) I can’t wait to see/hear about your monthly favourites – let me know if you have tried any of the products mentioned above and if you liked them!

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Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Violet Box: August

It’s almost the end of another month and this means it is Violet Box time once again! This is my last Violet Box for the time being, as I think I need a little break from all of these beauty sample boxes. Violet Box has been by far my favourite monthly subscription box out of the most popular beauty boxes available (I also tried Bellabox and Lust Have It). While Violet Box consistently sends out products from new and niche brands (and a lot of these products are full sized products – so you are getting your monies worth big time) I do find that I still receive a lot of products which I wouldn’t buy myself.  If products are laying around not being used, then that’s just a waste in my opinion. Another issue I have with these boxes (all subscription beauty boxes) is that particular brands are featured in numerous boxes, which gets tiresome. I know that for brands, beauty boxes are great exposure and a great way to introduce customers to new products – but for me this get’s a little repetitive. In saying that, monthly beauty boxes are exciting to receive because you never really know what you are going to get :) So – with that being said, let’s see what August had in store for us in Violet Box land!

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This months box came with four full sized products which is pretty awesome!

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First up we have Be a Bombshell Eyeshadow Quad in New York City, RRP: $22.00, full sized product.The eyeshadows in this quad are pigmented well but they are all also very shimmery. I can already see that the blue shimmery shade and the white pearly shade will blend together to make one ultra shimmery unidentifiable shade on the lid lol The silver and black shade stand out the most to me in this quad. Be a Bombshell is a brand that has been featured in Violet Box before, but honestly, the brand doesn’t excite me. The packaging feels and looks pretty cheap and all the products I’ve received from Be a Bombshell tend to be over shimmery and not very unique (be it in colour or formula). In all honesty, I probably won’t use this quad and will just get rid of it so it isn’t lying around taking up space.

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy in Morelia Monarch, RRP: $21.95 (for 8 oz) or $18.95 (for 6 oz) – 7.1 gram sample. The little black tub with the butterfly sticker on the lid is a hand cream. I think this must be from a little US brand based in Idaho, which I think is pretty cool! It’s actually a really lovely hand cream – slightly thicker than your every day hand cream and as a result, feels more nourishing. It doesn’t sink in completely however, and I think this must be because of the glycerine. It has a lovely light but sweet scent to it and I surprisingly really enjoy using this hand cream! I do love very nourishing hand creams – I want to feel the moisture and hydration, but this may not be everyones cup of tea.

Appelles Rosemary Body Bar Soap, RRP: $5.95, full sized product. Appelles is a brand which has been flogged to death in many beauty boxes. I’ve tried this soap before and it is lovely – I am glad that they included a full sized soap within the box instead of a mini sample soap (otherwise, that would have been el cheapo haha and not in the best way). Appelles is an Australian brand and the soap smells very fresh thanks to the addition of lemon myrtle essential oil. The soap also contains eucalyptus, niaouli and rosemary essential oils. Oh – and the soap is certified organic.

Evelyn Iona Lipgloss, RRP: $20.50, full sized product. I can’t find the shade name of this lipgloss, but as you can see it’s a light nude-ish pink which isn’t to milky. The lipgloss contains fine micro shimmer and has maybe a medium opacity to it. I think this is this month’s ‘star’ product, as not only is it full sized but it is also certified organic, preservative free and gluten free (why beauty products would need to be gluten free I do not know lol). It is a lovely lipgloss, it isn’t to sticky and it smells lovely (like vanilla sugar?). It doesn’t really have a taste as such – which is also probably a good thing. I’m not a huge lipgloss girl, but this one I could see myself using!

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Above: A swatch of the Evelyn Iona Lipgloss.

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Foltene Eyelash Treatment, RRP: $ 20.95, full sized product. I’ve always wanted to try a lash serum that stimulates growth and strengthens your lashes. Most lash serums or treatments tend to be rather expensive, which has put me off trialling them (my lash aren’t that terrible to warrant an expensive lash serum/treatment). I’m definitely going to give this lash treatment a go as I’m super curious about it – however, because it is on the cheaper side of available lash treatments, I am a little sceptic about it. I will be super happy if it surprises me! The applicator looks like a standard mascara wand and you are supposed to apply the treatment twice daily to lashes. Foltene seems to be an Italian brand which I haven’t heard of before.

I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed by this box – far from it actually. The only product I am really disappointed in is the Be a Bombshell eyeshadow quad. I’m not that excited by the soap either, but it will be a nice addition to the bathroom (it will get used either way). The hand cream and lipgloss are nice surprises, as is the lash treatment. As you can see, I got quite a lot for my measly $23 :) Perhaps I will be annoyed at myself when I see what others received in their next Violet Boxes, but I know a break will do me good (I plan to put in the whole $23 into my savings account every month until I sign up again lol).

Well that’s it for now beauties, let me know how you liked your beauty boxes this month or if you are thinking of joining up or taking a break from them!

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Beauty Blush Playground No. 3: MAC Blush in Full of Joy

Today on the blush carousel we have a MAC blush in the colour of grape fairy floss <3 I don’t have to many MAC blushes, but when I do buy a MAC blush, I tend to go for the more unusual colours. I was expecting Full of Joy to be a pinky-lilac satin blush – a little different but not majorly so. It turns out it is a frost finish and much more lilac-y than I expected. In saying this, it’s surprisingly wearable. When I say it’s a frost finish – it doesn’t actually have any chunky glitter or any very visible shimmer. You have to look suuuuper closely at the powder to notice any shimmer at all. But what makes this shade interesting is that it has almost a slight metallic finish. Because of this metallic finish, the powder also has a transparency to it. The transparency is great – it means you don’t have to worry about looking like a Donna Summer video clip gone horribly wrong! It’s all the right kinda shine while being slightly subtle at the same time! <3

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I know this colour won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – but what I wanted to show you on this very blush carousel, is the variety of blushes out there which are actually pretty wearable and which may brighten up your day more than expected! I think with spring upcoming in Aus, it’s the perfect time for some colour inspiration :)

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Above: Full of Joy on my cheeks :) the blush is brighter in real life. Blush tends to come out slightly muted in photos. You can see the tone of the blush in the photo however and it’s gorgeous in person!

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Jasmine has started blooming earlier than usual this year, which I’m hoping means that Spring is well and truly on it’s way here in the Southern Hemisphere! I picked a few small Jasmine buds from our Jasmine bush and while there’s only two flowering buds, the smell is soooo intense hours later after picking that I swear it’s magic… I also took a few more pics of my garden for you to enjoy :)

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The yellow flowers above are cabbage flowers :)

Have you considered trying a purple toned blush? Do you have a favourite MAC blush? :) Catch you on the next carousel stop ;)

Beauty Bee~ 

Nails of the Day: Tomoko and You Are Worth It

I finally tried my first ever Zoya nail polish! I picked quite a different formula and finish to begin with – one of their nail polishes from their Pixie Dust range. I picked this particular polish because it just looked so damn shiny in all the photos I saw of it! I have a weakness for shiny things you see… I was drawn to this particular colour (Tomoko) more than the others, as the silvery pale gold flecks seem less harsh than the other colours available. I was a little worried that the ‘gritty’ texture and finish may annoy me after a while on the nail, but I was oh so pleasantly surprised! Not only is it hella shiny on the nail (it looks like sparkly gold leaf), the finish feels somewhat ‘textured’ and grainy, but not so much that it’s annoying or even that noticeable. I did fear that delicate materials might catch on the nail, but luckily, no issues like that here.

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I decided to pair Tomoko with one of my favourite L’Oreal Color Riche Le Vernis shades, You Are Worth It, which is a light-medium grey. Sydney has been super rainy and grey recently, so this combination reminds me of  dark stormy rain clouds and the sun just peeping through them. You know when it’s super dark even during the day when it rains and then when the sun peeps through the clouds and you can see that golden outline on the clouds? Well that’s what I was thinking of :) The sun seems sooo much brighter and golden then, hence my colour collaboration! I think it works well, but let me know what you think!

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You will also be happy to know that Tomoko is oddly so easy to remove (nothing like glitter polishes, which are a bitch to get off). It can chip off the nail easily though, so definitely use a top coat when wearing this shade. A top coat doesn’t take away from the effect at all. If anything, Tomoko looks even shinier with a top coat!

I haven’t been doing as many Nails of the Day posts lately, as my nails haven’t been in the best condition. I used to take hair and supplements for a long time but then took a break and haven’t been taking them since. Since you have to take them for a looooong time before they become effective (check out my post on hair and nails supplements here) I’ve ordered some new supplements and will start taking them regularly again, as I do think they make a difference. I’ve also been giving them a bit of a break recently, so hopefully that helps (my natural nails have become a little yellow at the ends because I’ve been wearing to much nail polish and they haven’t been getting time to ‘breathe’). I’ll keep you updated though, on any new developments :)

Do you recommend or dislike Zoya nail polishes? I’m wondering what their regular line of nail polishes is like… Let me know if you have any nail tips in general :)

Until next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Review: Hello Hair Hydrating Mask

I think all of us survived the onslaught that was the coconut oil ‘trend’. Have you noticed that particular ingredients seem to have their 15 minutes of fame in the cosmetic industry? Well, I survived the coconut oil trend and tried it out for myself. I previously bought cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and used it as a ‘pre wash’ hair mask. I thought this Hello Hair mask was interesting because while it features coconut oil as the main ingredient, it also contains some other delicious sounding oils, like – almond oil, argan oil, olive oil, olive leaf extracts and castor oil <3

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“I’ve got a lovely bunch of cooooo-cooooo nuts!” 

Every fine haired lass will know, that using oils on your hair can take some getting used to. When using straight up coconut oil in my hair, I would rub it into dry (and usually dirty hair) and then leave it on for an hour. After the hour was up, I would shampoo my hair twice in order to get as much oily residue out of my hair so it wouldn’t make my already fine hair exceptionally flat. I wouldn’t then use a conditioner as my hair would still have a lot of a residue left in it. My hair was weighed down a bit after doing this (even sans extra conditioner) so because of this effect and the fact that it is time consuming to do this hair mask (even once a week) I gradually stopped using my pure coconut oil hair mask, only because I became lazy (let’s be honest haha).

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The Hello Hair mask is similar in that the longer you leave it in your hair the better – so I do try and keep it in my hair for an hour. However, after washing the mask out of my hair (shampooing twice) I then also condition my hair. This effect does ever so slightly weigh down my hair, but it’s still a vast improvement on the regular pure coconut oil mask. The reason you can still use conditioner on the hair without it weighing your hair down more, is because coconut oil doesn’t smooth the hair cuticle, rather it sinks into the hair shaft (unlike many other ingredients/masks). Hence why you may want to use a regular conditioner after washing out the coconut oil based hair mask with shampoo, to smooth down the hair shaft so it’s easier to brush and not as prone to damage. Because of the other oils in the Hello Hair mask, it is lighter. Coconut oil contains lauric acid (up to 50% of coconut oil is lauric acid, which is a medium chain fatty acid and why coconut oil feels as greasy as it does) capric acid (which is also a medium chain fatty acid) and vitamin E, all of which help prevent protein loss and makes the hair strand stronger. I kind of this think of it this way – that the other oils in this mask help to break up the ‘greasy-ness’ of the coconut oil while also providing other nutrients for the hair (even though they themselves may not sink in as deeply into the hair shaft). On a side note, lauric acid is also anti-fungal and antibacterial, so it’s great for lessening itchiness and other scalp conditions (including killing off head lice haha).

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I like that this hair mask only costs only $15 (and you don’t have to pay for postage if you live in Aus!) and you can find it at their official website here. I get about 4-5 uses out of my 100g ‘sachet’ (remember that I do have very fine, medium length hair). It may not last as long as a huge tub of the stuff, but it hurts your bank account less :P I have been trying to use this mask weekly and so far so good! You can really feel that your hair is more hydrated and shinier. My hair has been quite weak lately (I think this is due to stress etc) so while it hasn’t dramatically strengthened my hair after one use, I think regularly using this mask will help, especially in protecting hair from additional environmental damage.

I’ve noticed that a few cosmetic brands have started specialising in only one type of beauty product (e.g. Frank Body and Babe Scrub specialise in organic body exfoliating scrubs and now Hello Hair specialises in this one hair mask). It’s an interesting strategy I thought I’d point out. Anyhoo, that’s all from me folks, let me know if you are a fan of using coconut oil :)

Catch ya next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~