Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Let's all just give New Zealand a round of applause for finally bringing us some international makeup brands to our shores; first it was e.l.f. at Kmart and now Collection UK have launched in Countdown Supermarkets across the country. I had heard a rumour it was coming a few months ago, but really didn't want to get my hopes up, but two weeks ago the Collection stands started cropping up around the country. I think we have all heard of the infamous Lasting Perfection Concealer from the UK bloggers and vloggers, with it being a 'holy grail' for many people, so I was pretty desperate to get my hands on it!

This is at Northlands Countdown in CHCH, with a nice fully stocked stand. I must have looked a right weirdo taking a picture of this in the middle of the aisle, but I have no shame because I was so excited to see it there! The prices are pretty reasonable, on par with Maybelline (but just a touch cheaper). It ranges from $6 for nail polishes to $25 for the foundations. I only grabbed two items, but I will definitely be getting a few more to try out soon.

001. Work The Colour Eyeshadow Pencil in Hot Chocolate 4 // $12.59
These eyeshadow pencils come in 6 different shades, all of which looks beautiful (I particularly love the look of the Vanilla Sky - would be great for an inner corner highlight). It promises to be velvety, easily blendable, long lasting and waterproof and it has ticked all of those boxes. I wore this to work and it lasted me all day and into the night without any fading or creasing and the colour looked amazing! It has a coppery shimmer through it, with a bronze/brown base. It glides on like a dream, but you have to work quickly to blend it out because it sets in a matter of seconds. These are a complete winner in my books and I definitely need to get the other shades!

002. Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in Fair 1 // $14.59
Getting this concealer was at the top of my list, I almost squealed in excitement while I was buying it - yes, I was that excited! There are only two shades, Fair and Light, which is quite limited but for light/medium skin tones they should work perfectly for you. As soon as I used this, it was love straight away, I got the shade Fair purely for my under eye, would definitely be a bit to light for blemishes. Under the eye it blends out so well, has full coverage and instantly brightens. I haven't experienced any creasing with this and it really does stay put all day and night. I can understand why this is a holy grail for so many people!

I'd love to hear from my UK readers as to what to try next from Collection, so let me know any recommendations, or products to avoid (if there is any!) Also this post may seem like a sponsored one but it is not at all, I was just so excited to see it here in NZ that I wanted to share it with you all!

MUA LUXE // Velvet Matte Lip Lacquers - Full Collection Review + Swatches

Monday, 21 April 2014

At the end of last year MUA (Makeup Academy) came out with a brand new LUXE line that included new eyeshadow palettes, brow products, eye liners and some nail foils (you can see a haul of the LUXE items I brought a while back here). Along with those great products came the Velvet Matte Lip Lacquers, following the makeup trends of the moment. I am a huge fan of the MUA brand (do a quick search on my blog to see all the posts I've done about a bunch of their products!), so when I saw this new line I was ordering them right away. I initially started with just the two pink ones, but then couldn't resist getting the other three to complete my collection  - best part is they are so cheap, £3 - so less than NZD $6.

The colour range includes five shades, ranging from hot pink to vampy purple. It is a great capsule collection and many of these would make great dupes for higher end liquid lipsticks, such as the Hourglass ones and especially the Lime Crime Velvetines which are basically the same premise - matte, opaque colour that lasts. The quality of these, considering the price, is just unbelievable. They are pigmented in one swipe, producing rich colour onto the lips. The best way I have found is to do a light coat first and then go over with another equally light coat on top - it ensures the best result and lasting power, so during the day they won't clump up and gather in strange places on the lips.

These lacquers go onto the lips feeling very wet, but they dry to a completely matte finish in about 10-15 seconds. Once they are dried they are a hard thing to budge, making them perfect for nights out, they last whilst drinking and eating and I have found the wear time to be around 5-6 hours depending on how much eating/drinking you are getting up to. As these are a very matte lip product, they are probably not the best option for people with easily dried or chapped lips, use a lip balm about 10 minutes before applying it to ensure it goes on smoothly and you could even use a gloss lightly over top if you don't like a total matte finish. The only downside I found is that it can get a bit flaky during the end of its life cycle (as I said 5-6 hours) and it is a bit hard to top up as that can emphasis the the flakiness due to the matte formula. It is best to do a thin coat and build upon that if you need too. Apart from that, at such a cheap price they are a great alternative to the much more pricier options out there.

FUNK // This shade is a darker pink, which leans to the red side. If you are a little uncomfortable with super dark red lips, this is the shade to get you a little more used to wearing them.

CRIMINAL // Now this one is bright, vivid and in your face. Keep the rest of the makeup simple and have full emphasis on the amazing hot pink lips.

KOOKY // I have yet to muster up the courage to wear this one out, but as the colder month are approaching I think it is about time I did. It is a vampy, dark purple.

ATOMIC // A perfect one for Spring and Summer this is a bright and vivid orange shade.

RECKLESS // If you are after the perfect matte, red lipstick this could be the one for you. It is a true dark, blood red shade.

The labels for Funk + Criminal should actually be swapped around - apologies, and bad editing on my behalf!
As you can see MUA did not skimp out on quality and pigmentation; with great lasting power, amazing matte finish and a great selection of different colours, these are a must have. And lets be honest, how good is the price?! NZD $6 for one of these is a total steal and the best part is that MUA ship worldwide; to NZ it is about $14 but they often have free shipping offers or discounts.

Have you tried these lip lacquers yet? Do you love them as much as me? Spill all your thoughts to me in the comments!

KMART // New Range of Lipsticks + Nail Polishes

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Kmart here in New Zealand (and also in Australia) have had a beauty revamp, adding new brands like e.l.f. (!!!) and also their own line of lipsticks and nail polishes. I was very excited to see these and the best part was they are only $4 each! I wasn't sure what to expect but grabbed a few items to try them out and they have really impressed.

001. Moisturising Lipstick in Milk Chocolate/Naked
I am a bit confused as to the actual name of the lipstick, the back says Milk Chocolate and the front of the actual lipstick says Naked - so I'm going with that one. It promises to be moisturising for 'perfectly pouted, hydrated lips'; it definitely is moisturising, and very creamy on the lips. The packaging feels a little cheap and plastic-y but the lipstick pigmentation is really great and the swatch above is one swipe. It is a pinky nude, leaning towards the browner side. They have a really good colour selection with some amazing bright shades.

002. Feather Nail Polish in Oriole
I was really impressed to see they had a lot of the different nail effects in the range, I picked up one of the feather effects, this one with orange and white bars of matte glitter pieces, all in a clear base. It needed a couple of coats to get the coverage shown on the nail wheel and would look great over many different colours as the base.

003. Glitter Nail Polish in Glitterbomb
Of course I had to go for one of their glitter polishes, this one is filled with pink, green, silver, blue and yellow hexagonal glitters. The coverage was quite sparse but by dabbing the polish onto the nail that gives the best results.

For only $4 each, this range is a real steal, they have a good range of colours and also great nail effects on offer. It is well worth checking into your local Kmart and seeing what is now on offer! If you have tried this range, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

LIVING NATURE // Skin Minis for Oily/Combination Skin Review

Friday, 18 April 2014

I've reviewed a couple of products from Living Nature over the past month or so, including the Manuka Honey Lip Balm and the Manuka Honey Gel; today I have another set of products to review, this time a trio of Skin Minis* for Oily/Combination skin. Living Nature are a NZ based skincare/beauty company that use 100% natural ingredients and have a great range for both genders and all skin types.

The Skin Minis trio have the three main products you need to keep your skin in tip-top condition. This set aimed at oily/combo skin includes the Purifying Cleanser, Hydrating Toning Gel and Balancing Day Lotion. It is hard to find products specifically suited to your skin; often cleansers don't cleanse like they should, toners leave you feeling super dry and sometimes moisturisers can be too rich, especially for oily skin peeps. These minis really work great and helped to control the oil, whilst also providing the moisture my skin needs. This little trio of 30ml products is the perfect introduction to the brand and they also are the perfect size for travel.

PURIFYING CLEANSER // NZD $39.00 for 100ml
This cleanser works like many others; it is a thicker liquid that foams up slightly once you work it into the skin, You can use it morning and night; during the evening I use this with my Olay Regenerist Cleansing brush (like a Clarisonic) and it works great with that. It really gives a deep clean without drying the skin out or being abrassive. It gets rid of all most all traces of makeup, and clear out the pores. I found it helped to treat blemishes really well, and the use of natural ingredients means you know it will be doing good for the skin.

HYDRATING TONING GEL //  NZD $43.00 for 100ml
Out of the three, this was my least favourite and one I just didn't get a long with like I did with the other two products. The main thing is that I have never used a gel toner, so it was a little foreign to me as I am used to a liquid toner that you wipe over the skin using a cotton pad. You basically use this in a moisturiser type fashion by putting a little on the fingers and rubbing over the face and neck. I found the smell a little hard to get used it - I can't quite put my finger on it but I wasn't a fan. The toning process for me is a way of wiping away any traces of makeup or dirt left on the face but by simply letting it sink in, I don't think it was doing the job that I would have like it to do.

BALANCING DAY LOTION // NZD $39.00 for 50ml
Despite the toning gel not being amazing, the moisturiser makes up for it. Probably my favourite out of the trio, this provides just the right amount of hydration my skin needs without being greasy. It goes on slightly thick but it sinks in very quickly and leaves the skin feeling very soft. It also doesn't break me out or aggravate any blemishes. It works great under makeup, making a great base.

The Skin Minis come in sets for Normal Skin and also Dry/Mature Skin, they retail for NZD $39.90 which is a great price and good chance to test out the products before buying the full sized. I loved the cleansers and lotion and would absolutely consider buying the full size of these two; the toner unfortunately just didn't work for me. The Living Nature website has some very useful information on the ingredients they use as well as tips and tricks to give your skin the best care you can.

Have you tried any Living Nature products before? Let me know in the comments!

*This was sent to me for consideration to review. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

NOTD // China Glaze It's A Trap-Eze! + Essie Bikini So Teeny - Easter Inspiration

Thursday, 17 April 2014

With all the chocolate and Easter goodies, you definitely need some nails that would be fitting. I saw MissJenFabulous (a blogger + vlogger on Youtube) post this nail combo on her Instagram here - I had the exact nail polishes in my collection and absolutely loved the colour together. It turned out so nice and I love having the two accent nails instead of my normal one.

One of my favourite polishes is Essie Bikini So Teeny, it is the perfect pastel blue and flatters all hands and nails. This shows two coats and it has a super shiny and creamy finish. China Glaze It's A Trap-eze! is an amazing glitter; it has a white milky base packed with various colours of glitter. This needed two coats to get it opaque and the effect is just awesome!

Let me know what nail polish you will be rocking over the Easter weekend!

MAYBELLINE // #getalittlelippy Buy 1, Get 1 Free

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

At the beginning of April Maybelline launched their #getalittlelippy campaign aimed at promoting their lipsticks and also getting the nation into wearing lipsticks no matter how bright or bold. At most stockists (Farmers, The Warehouse, pharmacies etc.) they are offering Buy 1, Get 1 Free on all lipsticks. When I heard this I rushed into my closest Farmers and grabbed two. I'm a huge fan of their lipstick offering, if you are an avid reader of my blog you will know I love the Color Whispers, but I decided to grab a couple from two of their different lines.

001. Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in 015 Born With It
The first one I gravitated towards was this lovely pink nude shade called Born With It. It is from their normal line and has a very creamy, almost balm like texture. It is that 'your lips but better' kind of shade and helps to even out the colour of the lips whilst still looking natural. I find myself reaching for this shade most days when I can't decide what colour to go for.

002. Maybelline Bold Matte in MAT1
On the complete opposite end of the scale is this super bold, super vivid shade from their new matte line. This whole line is so intense and great for find a colour if you want to step out of your comfort zone a bit! This lipstick is super pigmented, dries to a matte finish but is not drying nor does it flake away. It is comfortable on the lips, perfect if you want a matte lip but have lips that a prone to drying out.

Now for the swatches - Born With It shows three swipes and you can see the creamy sheen it has to it, making it so natural on the lips. MAT1 shows two swipes, it is so bright and bold and is a hot pink that lends to be slightly red.

These retail for $21.99, so getting two for the price of one is just such a good deal. I think the promotion runs until next week around the country, so worth going and stocking up on some lippies while they are so cheap!

Let me know what lipstick colour you gravitate towards, or your favourite one; I'd love to know!

BENEFIT COSMETICS // The Porefessional NEW Agent Zero Shine Powder Review

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I've now had this for a number of month, I actually brought it way back in December when it first got released and have been using it on and off since then, until the past few weeks when I have been reaching for it nearly everyday. I think at first I wasn't sure how to get along with it and the packaging seemed a little gimmicky but I got past all that and the actual powder works very well and I've come to love it.

This powder claims to be mattifying, pore perfecting, invisible finish and lightweight - it has lived up to each claim (but some more than others). A little background - I have pretty oily skin, it gets especially oily during the day around my nose and cheeks predominately so I need to set down any foundation to help prolong the wear and keep me looking matte, this powder had promised these things and it delivered. Generally I use the Benefit Porefessional Primer before hand (my go-to!) and they are aimed to work in conjunction with each other, but you obviously don't have to - you will still get the same results without the primer.

The packaging for this powder is very unique; I am so used to big pans that I can really swirl a big brush in to then douse my face in powder, but this is a little different. It is very slim, with a brush that unscrews from the bottom and the top lid acts as a dispenser for the powder that comes out of a sifter. The brush is very small and also very soft and fluffy, so it allows targeted powdering, but not to great if you want to dust your whole face in a hurry. The sifter lid dispenses quite large clumps of the powder but I find swirling the little brush in the lid then disperses it evenly on the brush.

The powder itself is definitely lightweight and as promised, invisible on the skin. I target it on my nose across the cheeks and up onto the forehead and this powder keeps me shine free for a number of hours. I think it was almost 5 or so hours at work until I noticed a little oiliness around the creases of my nose, which is really impressive for me. The beauty with this product and I think one of the stand out things about it, is you can use it to touch up on the go. It is the ultimate handbag essential - it is super compact and having the brush included makes it even more so. As for pore-perfecting goes, using it with the Porefessional is recommended (a primer that fills in and blurs the pores) but I do notice that this just seems to glide over them, and does in way make them seem a little more reduced, to some extent it does even out the skin surface a bit.

At first, this product did seem a bit gimmicky and a bit fiddly to use, but now that I have been using it a lot more I have realised how great the powder is and how perfect this is for on-the-go touch ups, making it the perfect handbag, travel bag item to carry with you.

You can buy this from the Benefit website for USD $30 here - they have free international shipping with orders over USD $125, or it is a flat $13.95 to NZ or from a counter at the Auckland Airport and Smith & Caughey's.

Have you given this powder a go? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments.