Monday, 30 March 2015

HIT OR MISS: Australis ACOnTour Contour & Highlighting Kit + Swatches

I finally got my hands on the palette that seems to be on everyones's wish lists but never on the shelves - the Australis ACOnTour Contour and Highlighting Kit!

I don't know how many months I've been waiting for this to come back in stock, so as soon as I spotted it at my local Priceline, I grabbed it straightaway!


This palette has been getting SO MUCH hype in the beauty world for being a dupe for the iconic (yet expensive) Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit so of course I wanted to spare the dollars and see if this Australis version is actually worth all the praise that it gets.


The kit itself includes six powder shades: three highlighting shades and three brown contouring shades. I'm especially excited to try the yellow powder, which I've heard is great for setting under eye concealer and nullifying the purple tones in dark circles.


Shade 1 is a matte cream colour with a slight pink undertone. I love that it's completely matte - shimmery highlighters tend to look a bit too obvious when used on the bridge of the nose and along the brow arch, so this would be a great shade to use to bring out those areas.


Shade 2 is the famous 'banana' powder, which really is the exact colour as the lolly bananas you can get from the milk bar! As I mentioned earlier, this is great for applying anywhere you have purple undertones in the skin, such as the under eye area. I'd be light handed with it too - it's pretty pigmented!


Shade 3 is the only shimmery shade in the palette, and is a creamy metallic warm gold. I absolutely love this colour and I think it would look incredible used to highlight the cheekbones as your skin would glow every time it catches the light! The only thing with this one is that it tends to have some fall out, so you just need to be a little extra mindful when applying it.


Shade 4 is a dark milk chocolate brown colour, which is perfect for using as a bronzer to warm up the complexion. It's a bit too warm to use as a straight contour shade that looks natural, so I'd stick to applying this as bronzer only.


Shade 5 is the only colour I actually think would work as a strict contour shade from this palette. It's a dark brown with a grey undertone, so it's almost leaning towards being a taupe shade. When choosing a contour shade, you're essentially looking for a colour that looks like a 'shadow', and a grey-ish one like this is your best bet! Apply with a dense angled contour brush like the Artiste Manicare Professional Contour Brush for the best effects.


Shade 6 is a very warm-toned, almost russet coloured brown. This one leans a little too orange for me to use, but if you fake tan your face, this would definitely be dark enough to help you achieve a noticeable contour while rocking your tan.


The shades themselves are not super opaque - slightly on the powdery, dusty side - but they're easy to build which is exactly what you want from contouring powders. 

All of the powders are very creamy to the touch and blend well, and for RRP $16.95 at Priceline, it's a great way to practice creating a contour. It's so affordable and for what you get, I can definitely see why this beauty is almost always sold out!


Verdict...

While there are some shades that I won't be able to use, it's still a hit for me! The powders are creamy, the palette makes contouring very convenient and you're getting good quality products for a very affordable price. If you're lucky enough to see it in store, take the plunge and give it a go!


Have you tried the Australis ACOnTour palette? Let me know in the comments if it was a hit or miss for you!

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Monday, 23 March 2015

REVIEW: Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm BB Cream

BB Creams. We've all heard of them, but they can still confuse the heck out of us! (Don't even get me started on CC and DD creams...)

Basically, a BB Cream - otherwise known as a Beauty Balm - is an all-in-one product that boasts a combination of a range of effects, such as priming, evening out skin tone and moisturising (among a whole lot of other benefits!).

Originating in Asia, these beauties are still a relatively new addition to the western market, so I've been on the hunt for a good three years now trying to find one that works for me. And I've been through my fair share!


But I have FOUND. THE. ONE.

My BB Cream criteria list was pretty specific and long, but this manages to tick all of my boxes. I wanted something with light to medium coverage, that wasn't drying, evened out my skin tone and blended easily. No glorified tinted moisturisers thanks!

I was gifted the Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm by my younger brother for my birthday (thank you!) and it is incred. I picked up the shade Vanilla Glow, which is the second lightest shade in the five-colour range. 


The consistency is similar to sunscreen, except it blends into a lovely even finish (and no stickiness!). As you can see below, it's fairly thick for a BB cream, but it provides just enough coverage that I can skip concealer and powder, which is the whole point because I wanted a product perfect for quickly popping on for lazy days.


Don't let the colour fool you - the thing with BB Creams is that once blended into your skin, they do give you a sheerer-than-foundation kind of coverage. So while it looks super pigmented just dabbed on my cheek below, once blended it has just the right amount of coverage to cover any imperfections while still looking natural and allowing my skin to breathe.


Let's do a little comparison, shall we? On the left, I'm wearing no base makeup. My skin is for the most part blemish-free (teenage zits - finally we say goodbye!), but around my cheeks and nose I do have some redness happening.  

Now looking to the second image, after using JUST the Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm, my skin looks much more uniformly toned and that redness is pretty much non-existent! Buuuuut, it doesn't look like I'm wearing makeup, which is exactly what I want from a BB!


Close up, you can see that most of my redness in my cheeks and nose has been hidden. My natural skin is still showing through however, but I really like that for those no-makeup-makeup-days when I don't want to go out barefaced, but can't be bothered to go all out with my usual routine. My skin but better? Yes please!


For my Aussie beauties, you can get your hands on the Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm at Mecca Maxima and KIT or online here for $46.00. It may not be the cheapest BB cream out there, but after trying almost every one on offer at Priceline and being disappointed, I could have saved my money on four or five cheaper products and just bought this one instead! #ahwell #nexttime #can'twinthemall


What's your favourite BB Cream? Let me know in the comments below!

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Monday, 16 March 2015

Matte Lip Cream Comparison - Velvetines, Velourlips, Apocalips and more!

If you're one of the 1,847,023,283,293 people* who love the look of a matte lip but are a little hesitant to try it, welcome to the world of. Velvet. Lip. Creams. 


Matte lips can often be a pretty daunting lip look that requires a lot of precision when applying and a lot of prep beforehand (ever applied a matte to chapped lips? Then you know what I mean!).

Soooo these babies are the answer to our lipstick prayers - moisturising, simple to apply and just as matte and pigmented as a lippy, Velvet Lip Creams are easily a MUST. HAVE.

So I've rounded up a representative product from six of the most well-known matte lipstick ranges - from cheaper alternatives to high end splurges - and reviewed and swatched each one. Enjoy!


Lime Crime Velvetine

"Utopia"


P.S. To be safe, I recommend buying this from a stand-alone retailer after all the Lime Crime drama!

Pigmentation
The Velvetines are arguably the most famous velvet lip creams out there (though in light of all of the Lime Crime drama, do be careful when purchasing beauties!) and the pigmentation really is right up there. You can expect a full opaque matte lip look that is very, very vibrant.

Feel & Wear
This one has a distinct paint-like feel when you're applying it, but the liquid quickly dries matte. I find it pretty comfortable to wear, but it can feel a little sticky or 'tacky' when you rub your lips together.

Longevity
As far as transfers go, this one really stays put, and for hours! I can eat and drink while wearing this and not need to touch it up. It's also kiss-proof!


Australis Velourlips Matte Lip Cream

"Shang-Hi!"



Pigmentation
The Velourlips are one of the thicker consistency products on this list and as a result, they really do pack on the colour. All of the colours that I've swatched in store, including Shang-Hi! which I own, have been very opaque and they come in a large range of colours!

Feel & Wear
These babies often sell out at Priceline, but they seem to have the beauty world divided. Either you love them or you hate them, and I admit, I used to be in the latter team! I found them to be a bit chalky, thick and they'd separate into little pieces on my lips, but I must have had a bad one previously because I am loving this one. Shang-Hi! is smooth, buttery on the lips and applies very evenly.

Longevity
I find these tend to last only a few hours on me at full opacity, as they do wear off fairly quickly. However, they do leave quite a pretty stain behind when they do!


Savvy Ultra Matte Lip Colour

"Miss Munroe"


Pigmentation
These are CRAZY pigmented! I feel like Savvy is a brand that often gets overlooked, but they have definitely nailed it with their Ultra Mattes. If you're looking for a dupe for the Lime Crime Velvetines, Savvy can almost directly colour match Red Velvet, Pink Velvet and Utopia. I did a dupe post here if you want to see direct swatch comparisons of the two!

Feel & Wear
These are actually more comfortable to wear than the Velvetines, as you can rub your lips together without any transferring or 'pulling' feeling. However I do suggest using a lip liner or using concealer to edge your lips as these can bleed slightly into any fine lines.

Longevity
While they do have a matte finish, the Ultra Mattes do tend to stay 'wet' longer, so they can smear if you don't let them dry. Once they've set, they would easily last a night out eating and drinking, however may need touch ups in the centre of the lips.



Rimmel London Apocalips Lip Velvet

"Orange-ology"



Pigmentation
Normally matte lip products are the most pigmented of all of the lipstick formulas, however I found the original range of Apocalips to be more pigmented than the lip velvet variety. Don't get me wrong, they're still opaque and have a lovely matte finish, but the end effect is just a little softer. They're perfect for creating more of a "bitten" effect. 

Feel & Wear
The Apocalips Lip Velvets almost have a powdery feel to them on the lips, even though they are definitely a liquid! They don't dry fully matte either, so the end effect is more akin to a very pigmented lip gloss. However they are very soft, hydrating and don't catch on any dryer parts of the lips.

Longevity
These unfortunately don't last too long on me as they're not completely matte, so they tend to wear off after only a couple of hours. But they do leave the lips slightly tinted, so even though they don't last as long as other velvet lip creams, they at least come off very evenly!



MUD Matte Lip Cream

"Apricot"



Pigmentation
For only $5 at Woolworths, the MUD Matte Lip Creams are actually pretty good! The shade I have is fairly light, but is still pigmented enough to completely colour my lips in two or so coats. 

Feel & Wear
These are similar in texture to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams and the Australis Velourlips (just a lot cheaper!) and feel really soft and buttery on the lips. I was seriously impressed - they were velvety and not sticky at all! 

Longevity
This one doesn't really last that long - similar longevity to a semi-matte lipstick - but for the price, I was still very impressed. The product did tend to catch on dry areas of my lips, but it's not super noticeable.



NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

"Istanbul"



Pigmentation
For a light pink, this one is pretty pigmented! I've swatched some other shades from the range and they're all impressively opaque too. 

Feel & Wear
You kind of have to spread on the colour, but once it's on it definitely feels soft on the lips! It's not drying either, so it's a great one for 'putting it on and just forgetting about it'.

Longevity
Even though the formula of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams is pretty light, they do have great staying power on the lips. You can get a few hours wear out of these easy!



Do you have a favourite matte lip cream product? Share in the comments below!

*Obviously an exaggeration, but sometimes I like to think I'm funny.
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Monday, 9 March 2015

REVIEW: L'Oreal Paris Mega Volume Collagen Miss Manga Mascara

My name should be Miss Manga. 

Lover of Japan, anime and all things kawaii – I tick pretty much all the boxes! #justtryandtestmeonallthepokemonnames #iwillwin

So you can imagine how hyped I was to discover L’Oreal Paris’ latest mascara! A product that promises eyes as adorable as Sailor Moon’s? I’M. ALL. ABOUT. THAT. LIFE.


At Priceline there’s currently 25% off these beauties, so I picked up the Mega Volume Miss Manga Mascara in All Black - along with this super cute complimentary panda plushie – to put to the test. 


Application & Wand


First up, Miss Manga's wand is pretty unique. It has a flexible joint that bends as you apply, making coating every lash really easy. The actual brush is a cone shape, which is super handy for defining and lengthening the outer lashes, while not overloading the baby lashes in the eyes' inner corners. 

Plus, if you usually find it difficult to coat your lower lashes (smudged mascara everywhere? We've all been there!), the cone shape is a huge help. I just hold the wand vertically and sort of 'wiggle' it through my bottom lashes and they look incredible! 



Length, Volume & Definition


My lashes by default are pretty straight and short, but this mascara changed everything. Below you can see a step by step of each coat, and by the second one my lashes look completely different. They look longer, thicker and much more defined, giving my eyes this really wide, doe-eyed manga girl look.

Granted, the Miss Manga formula is a little thicker than what I'm used to, so I wouldn't recommend going for a third coat as by the second one my lashes were already teetering on the edge of being clumpy and spidery. But for a girl who doesn't have much in the lash department to begin with, it made a huge difference.


For the sake of comparison, below is the first and second coat of Miss Manga Mascara on my natural eyelashes without using an eyelash curler beforehand. The end effect is a bit more subtle, but is still a massive improvement, especially on those lower lashes!


Longevity, Curl & Wear


The Miss Manga Mascara definitely feels a little heavier on the eyes than other mascaras that I've tried, but it definitely didn't annoy me. If anything, it made fluttering my lashes so much more satisfying! The curl lasted incredibly well too - no drooping or straightening out over time - which is the best result I've ever had from a mascara.

During the day - around seven to eight hours of wear - I experienced no irritation (even with my contact lenses on!) or flaking. It did smudge at the outer corners very slightly, but nothing too noticeable. It was also very easy to remove - a bit of Bioderma on a cotton pad took it off very cleanly, with no piece-y bits coming off. 


Final Verdict


I. LOVE. THIS. MASCARA. 

If you're on the hunt for a new drugstore mascara, I highly recommend you give this a try. It's long lasting, easy to apply, keeps a curl and really does give your eyes that manga effect. You can pick this up for $21.95 (but if you're quick, it's still on promo price at Priceline!) which is pretty standard for a mascara, so I know I'll be repurchasing!

The Mega Volume Miss Manga Mascara is available in three other shades, Electric Blue, Pop Turquoise and Tropical Violet.


Have you tried the Miss Manga Mascara? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Monday, 2 March 2015

5 Must-Have Makeup Brushes You Need In Your Kit!

Yes, sometimes just your fingers can get the job done (get your mind out of the gutter!) but nothing can quite compare to the flawless finish the right brush can give your makeup.

And if you think the long makeup artist rolls of brushes are the norm, think again! You really only need five makeup brushes in your beauty arsenal - the rest are just extras!

If you've already got all five, great! If you're missing some, trust me, add them into your beauty routine and thank me later when your selfies are looking extra on point and you lose count of compliments... okay, that might be an exaggeration, but give these brushes a go and you'll be surprised at the difference they can make!


A Foundation Buffing Brush



No one likes streaky, uneven foundation lines, and this is where this brush comes in. Look for something with lots of very tightly packed bristles, which give your liquid foundations an airbrushed finish to the skin, as they gently and easily buff in the product. Just apply your foundation in dots onto your face and use the very top of the brush to blend it in using circular motions.



A Fluffy Powder Brush



This is a great multitasker. Whether your setting your foundation with powder, applying bronzer to warm up your complexion, or creating a soft, diffused contour, a big fluffy brush will be your best friend. These guys apply fine powders very evenly on the skin and don't pick up too much pigment (so you don't end up with too much powder on your face!). To use, lightly swirl the tip to mid-section of the brush in your pressed powder (use a lighter hand if using a loose powder) and then gently pat and blend the product onto your skin. 

My favourite: Revlon Powder Brush


A Blush Brush



You might think that a powder brush can also be used to apply your blush, but it's much more effective to use a separate tool. It's fine to use your powder brush for setting products and bronzing because these products are on the same colour spectrum. However blushes can be anything from orange to purple, so it's best to use a new brush! Pick something with a fluffy, tapered tip so it can effectively pick up the blush pigments and blend naturally into the skin.



A Wide Eyeshadow Brush



While it's nice to have a whole set of different eyeshadow brushes, you can really get away with just using one. But the colours will mix together! I hear you say. Well, the trick with only using one shadow brush is to apply your colours lightest to darkest so they don't mix into each other. Pick a brush that has a wide tip for picking up lots of pigment, and a rounded top which is great for blending and buffing in your shadows. 

My favourite: TheBalm Eyeshadow Brush (no longer available, but this one is very similiar)


Angled Shadow & Liner Brush



Another all star multi-tasker is the angled shadow and liner brush. You can use these lil cuties for applying gel or powder eye liner, as well as for shaping and filling in your brows. When shopping for one, look for brushes with short bristles that come to a thin and sharp angle at the top. The stiffer they are, the better, because they'll more accurately and smoothly apply any gel or cream products, like gel liner and brow pomade.


 


Did I miss any? What are your must-have makeup brushes? Let me know in the comments below!


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