Wednesday, 30 November 2016

HUGE Combined Makeup Haul: Sephora, Mecca, Beautylish

Its been a couple of months since I did a beauty haul and I have so many things to show you that I've picked up lately. With holiday limited edition products being released as well as end of year exams I've had a lot of reasons to shop - yes exam stress is the best reason to shop!

I'll start off with what I picked up from Sephora! I went to check out the new Sephora Broadway store when I was procrastinating from studying and picked up a few items I've had my eyes on for a while. Firstly is the Cover FX Custom Blot Drops. After seeing Tati's review of this product a couple of months ago I knew I had to have this to try and tame my oily-ass skin this summer. After stalking Sephora in the city so many times I finally found one left in stock at Broadway - hooray! I also picked up the Commodity Cocktail Kit which have ten mini fragrances. I've been spraying myself every time I walked into a Sephora trying to pick which fragrance to buy so I was excited to find this kit so I can try them all! I was also excited to see Sephora Australia had updated their Beauty Pass rewards and are now offering little samples in exchange for points, so I was happy to take home a mini Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara to try.

I also placed an order from Beautylish because by some miracle they had the Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette back in stock and I couldn't wait any longer to get my hands on it! I have another one of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow palettes and the quality is AMAZING! Can't wait to play around with those gorgeous burnt red shades! (So many exclamations! Can you tell I'm excited?! - also sorry friends but it seems to be out of stock again *sad face*) I also picked up the Becca Blushed With Light Palette. I've been meaning to try some of Becca's blushes and didn't want to buy the Jaclyn Hill palette since I already owned Champagne Pop so I was super excited to see this palette released.

Finally, I hit up Mecca and grabbed a few holiday releases. Of course, I could not help but get my hands on the Hourglass Surreal Light Palette. I got the ambient lighting palette last year and love it so much! Not only did I want to pick up the palette because I love the product, but the packaging is so beautiful and as a makeup collector I needed to have this in my collection. I also got the Sun's Up Face & Body SPF Duo which is such good value and perfect coming into summer! As a 'translucent white' I need all the SPF 50+ I can get. I also love the little neoprene bag it comes with which will be great for beach days. Finally from Mecca I picked up the Ciate Kiss Collective holiday gift set which includes three minis of their Liquid Velvet lipsticks in the shades Wonderland, Pin Up and Starlet. Unfortunately it is no longer available online but definitely worth seeing if there are any left in store. I love the texture of these liquid lipsticks, they have a moussy formula and are super comfortable on the lips.

So that's my huge *cringe* haul! I'm not planning on picking up anything else for myself, its definitely time to think of presents for my friends and family!

xx Cat

Monday, 28 November 2016

Best of 2016: Skincare Finds

The end of the year is approaching... can you believe it?! It's been a pretty exciting year for beauty and for me I especially got excited about skincare and figuring out not only the best thing for my skin but also how different ingredients work and what is the best way to solve any skin problem. I wanted to share with you not just my regular favourites, but the products I have discovered this year that have made a huge difference to my skin and that I really, really enjoyed using.

My philosophy about skincare is that you should enjoy using it. Skincare should be part of a ritual of treating yourself every morning and night so you can feel super confident in your own skin.

For reference, I'm 21 years old and my skin is oily-combination, prone to blackheads. I don't experience many breakouts, mostly just congestion on my cheeks and chin. I also love my skin to look glowy and radiant and I am most concerned about unevenness in my skin tone. So these products are what I've found work best for me!

Undoubtedly my favourite skincare find of the year was the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter. I initially didn't think this product would be for me or suit my oily-combo skin but I was so wrong! Of course the hero ingredient is Argan Oil which features in all of Josie's products and in combination with aloe and shea butter my skin feels gloriously soft. I loved this during winter as it is intensely hydrating but not thick and absorbs into the skin really well. I just love how this feels on my face and I really enjoy applying it even though it doesn't have a particular scent. Overall, whether you're super dry and looking for a big hit of moisture or oily and want to keep your skin looking glowy and fresh I would definitely recommend trying out this moisturiser. I would buy again and again.

I actually started using this product last year, but only here and there so I didn't really notice the difference. However, after using the Ren Wake Wonderful Night Time Facial consistently, I can easily say this is my absolute favourite chemical exfoliator I've tried. With both lactic and glycolic acids as well as a variety of hydrating ingredients, whenever I use this as night, I'll wake up the next morning and my skin is incredibly smooth and so radiant! I use this around 3 times a week in conjunction with a AHA/BHA toner once a day as well as a more intense physical exfoliator once a week in order to keep my skin consistently even and bright!

A really surprising discovery for me this year was the Bare Minerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion (basically its a serum!). I was super excited to try the Bare Minerals skin care range when it launched in Mecca earlier this year and out of all the products I have tried from the range this is the most impressive, becoming a staple in my AM skincare routine. I love that it is so thin in texture and absorbs into the skin super quickly as well as being really refreshing which is perfect for the morning. One of the top ingredients is niacinamide which is great for both brightening the skin and reducing the appearance of pores. When I apply this serum in the morning under my moisturiser, my skin looks bright and stays moisturised all day!

Finally, this year I stepped away from my favourite Origins masks and found a new favourite, the Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Mask. I absolutely love this mask, particularly for my oily-combo skin. Using once a week does wonders for helping remove congestion around my nose and chin and drawing out all those annoying blackheads. It is also fantastic for helping balance out any oil production in the t-zone. The main ingredients are charcoal and kaolin clay which are both very detoxifying but also quite drying. I would recommend prepping the skin with a hydrating mist toner before applying the mask. I find using a detoxifying mask once a week helps immensely with keeping my skin consistently clear.

That's it! As I mentioned before I didn't include everything I use in my everyday routine or boring stuff like my favourite cleanser etc. just products that make my skin feel AMAZING every time I use them.

What are some of your ultimate skincare products?

xx Cat

Monday, 15 August 2016

Combined Makeup Haul

There's been lots of skincare talk on the blog lately so I thought I would share same of the newest makeup bits I've added to my collection and who doesn't love a good haul! I've also been able to test out most of these products so I have given some mini reviews as well :)

I wanted to first talk about all the goodies I've recently picked up from NYX which is now being stocked in Priceline! The NYX Priceline displays have taken over Max Factor and Face of Australia I believe and are much bigger than the current displays in Target. Priceline also have a wider range of NYX products including a few exclusives. 
I was really excited to find the Liquid Suede Lipsticks stocked in Priceline and picked up the shade 'Cherry Skies' a beautiful deep red shade. I really like how comfortable these liquid lipsticks are and you can reapply/layer them without the formula going crumbly and gross. The formula wears really well too, but will definitely come off in the centre of the lips after eating. I would also recommend a lip liner or primer as it tends to bleed. The real downside however is how large the applicator is and with a dark red shade its pretty much impossible to apply without making a mess. I also noticed the Lip Lingerie Lipsticks have the same applicator, so be prepared to need a lip brush!

Probably my favourite purchase from NYX was the Roll On Shimmers in the shades 'Salmon' and 'Almond'. I can't believe I haven't seen these before and they are only $8.95!! Haven't yet had a chance to play with these on the eyes yet but I'm really impressed with how they swatched, hopefully if they work well I would be keen to pick up lots more shades!
L-R: Roll On Shimmer in Salmon and Almond, Liquid Suede Lipstick in Cherry Skies.
Finally, I picked up the Micro Brow Pencil in the shade 'Ash Brown'. I was really impressed with this brow pencil! I've heard lots of people saying its a dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and to be honest, I prefer the NYX. The cool brown shade is perfect for me and the tiny tip of the pencil makes it really easy to fill in the brows to get a natural look. I would definitely recommend this brow pencil, there are eight different shades and is a great price point at $16.95.
Next, from Target I picked up the In theBalm of Your Hand palette from TheBalm. I was attracted to this palette because it has a collection of theBalm face and eye products (even a lipstick!) all in one palette. I haven't had a chance to play with this one yet but I'm really intrigued to try all these different products, especially the eyeshadows and of course the cult favourite Mary LouManizer. I wasn't able to find this palette online but I would check out your local Target stores if you're interested!

I made a sneaky trip to Sephora just to have a bit of a browse and came across the new IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara. I picked this one up because I saw one of my favourite Youtubers, Coffee Break with Dani wearing it and it looked incredible! I've been using it for the last couple of weeks and I do like it, especially for adding volume to my lashes, but I do prefer my Chantecaille Faux Cils which gives me the length I want as well as volume. It also cost me $38 from Sephora Australia (not currently online) which I think is a little expensive. If you're after a mascara from Sephora I would recommend the Tarte Lights Camera Lashes, which is around $10 cheaper and does pretty much the same thing. Also the packaging is just insanely large for a mascara!

Finally, because I have such wonderful friends who also happen to be well travelled, I was lucky enough to add a few makeup bits from Soap and Glory into my collection. Firstly, is the One Heck of a Blot Translucent Powder which I already love and was very happy that my lovely friend Madi was so kind to bring me another compact back from her travels just in time considering I've hit pan on my first powder! This is my favourite powder for touch ups because it's so matte and smooth. Next up is the Solar Powder Bronzer which I've had on my wish list for ages. I've been using this quite a bit and it it absolutely gorgeous! So natural with just the right amount of sheen. Shout out to Olly for searching 4 Boots stores to find this one for me!

What new beauty bits have you picked up recently that you've really loved?

xx Cat

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Tried & Tested // Go-To Skincare

A couple of months ago I purchased a few items from Go-To, the skin care line founded by the incredible Zoe Foster Blake. I was tempted to buy a few things mainly because they recently launched a new product - Pinky Nudey Lips! - a hydrating, tinted lip balm. While I was placing an order I also decided to try Very Useful Face Cream as well as Exceptionoil. After giving all three products a really good test I'm sharing with you my thoughts.

First off, Go-To is an Australian company that is also cruelty free and doesn't contain use any mineral oils, parabens, synthetic colours or fragrances, sulfates or silicones which gets a huge tick from me! Great for your skin, all the fluffy animals and you're supporting an Aussie business - yay!

I was so excited to try Pinky Nudey Lips! and was hoping it would be a replacement for my favourite lip balm, Mecca Lip de Luscious, because having to dig lip balm out of a pot is not super easy on the go. Whilst I absolutely loved the slight pink tint, unfortunately the lip balm itself is not as nourishing as I had hoped. The texture is quite thin and feels super comfortable on the lips and does give hydration, just not lasting nourishment. I love the scent and the squeezy tube packaging and it has definitely become a staple in my on-the-go makeup bag. I just still need something a little extra as well, particularly during the colder months.

The second product I've been using from Go-To is their Very Useful Face Cream. I absolutely love this moisturiser for a few different reasons. Firstly, it has a shea butter base which is super hydrating, blends really well and also works fantastically underneath makeup. Secondly, the scent is divine (fig and natural rose) without being too overpowering for the face. Thirdly, I just feel like my skin looks great all day when I apply this in the morning and it keeps my skin looking bright and hydrated throughout the day rather than just for a little bit. I have super oily skin so I was worried this will be a little too heavy for me (and it might be in summer) but so far I've been absolutely loving it as my day time face cream. The only downside for me is the packaging. Whilst the squeezy tube is convenient I find the tube a little too tall and clumsy so its hard to store without falling over.

The last product I tried from Go-To is their Exceptionoil which is basically a multipurpose oil-based balm that you can use on your body, face and hair. I've been using it mainly on my body and oh my goodness this stuff is absolutely heavenly! The product is mainly coconut oil as well as being packed with heaps of other delicious and hydrating oils. The scent is Monoi Tiare which is gardenias (i'm pretty sure) but mostly smells like you're frolicking around a tropical island. In terms of effectiveness, it has been really beneficial on my parched, dry winter skin and is great after shaving. Because it is mainly coconut oil, it becomes hard in the tube due to the colder weather, but if you run it under warm water for around 30 seconds it will soften and be all ready to use. Again, I have similar feelings about the packaging to the Very Useful Face Cream - I just think they could to better.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed by the three products I tried from Go-To. Exactly as they claimed, the products are simple and effective. I can't say that the products drastically changed my skin, I didn't try enough of the range and my skin was (thankfully) already in pretty good shape. However, I would definitely recommend the range for anyone who wants a great, natural based range to maintain healthy skin. The whole range is at a fantastic price point too!

Have you used anything from the Go-To skincare range?

xx Cat

Monday, 25 July 2016

Beauty Graveyard // Empties July 2016

My last beauty graveyard post was in March and I just couldn't put off this post any longer as my little bag of empties started overflowing! This post mentions everything from hair, skincare and makeup bits, so grab a cup of tea and get comfy.

Starting off with hair products - I'm so surprised I've finished so many hair products because I hardly do anything with my hair to be honest. Of course, it wouldn't be one of my empties post without a Schwarzkopf Ultime Biotin Volume Dry Shampoo. I go through this stuff like its going out of style, but it's my fave dry shampoo and I still have heaps of backups from the last Priceline 40% off haircare sale. Also from Schwarzkopf I've finish up an Ultimate Oil Elixir Serum. I really enjoyed this because it left my hair feeling super soft and incredibly shiny and I would usually use this before blowdrying my hair. I haven't repurchased but would consider repurchasing in the future.

I've also finished up some high-end hair care as well. I've been using the Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches for the last couple of months and really enjoying it. I finished up both the shampoo and conditioner in travel sizes and since repurchased the full sizes. I do much prefer the shampoo as it is really clarifying but doesn't take all the weight out of my fine hair. The conditioner isn't my favourite however, as I feel like other conditioners leave my hair feeling much softer. Not too sure yet if I would repurchase the full sizes again, I'll probably try something different. Finally, I finished up the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer. I love this stuff as a heat protectant and isn't heavy at all in my hair. Already repurchased.

Next up are some body products. Nothing too exciting here, another Rexona Clinical Protect which is my favourite deodorant and of course I've repurchased. I also used up a Mitchum Clinical Deodorant, which I didn't mind at all in terms of its effectiveness but the packaging was so annoying and incredibly difficult to wind up so I will not be repurchasing. Finally, I've also used up a travel size of the Korres Guava Body Butter. This stuff is heavenly! Such a pretty, non-overwhelming scent and so moisturising. I did originally buy this as a hand cream to keep in my handbag, but it is a little heavy and takes a while to sink into your hands so I would recommend this more for the body. Haven't repurchased because I have too many body butters/moisturisers but definitely will in the future!

I've finished up a heap of skincare in the last couple of months! I'll start with the products from Origins. First is the High Potency Night-A-Mins Cream. This is a really beautiful night cream packed full of essential oils. It really does re-energise your skin overnight and leave it looking really fresh and bright, however, I had a bit of sensitivity to it because of all the essential oils and it left my skin really itchy. Next up is the Original Skin Renewal Serum. This serum was great at adding a little extra hydration to my skin, but to be honest I hardly noticed any difference when using it - and I went through the whole bottle, would pass. Finally, is the Never a Dull Moment Scrub and WOW I love this stuff. It smells delicious and I noticed such an immediate difference in my skin after using it. I usually leave it on my skin as a mini mask and let the enzymes work a little longer. Fantastic at leaving your skin super soft and glowing! On the most part I love Origins products and they work really well for me but I have decided not to purchase their products anymore because they are not cruelty free.

I've also finished up a deluxe sample of the Kate Sommerville Gentle Daily Wash which I absolutely loved using particularly in conjunction with my Clarisonic. It gave a really deep clean without being harsh or stripping. Would definitely consider purchasing the full size (when I don't have 7 different cleanser already!). Another sample size I've used up is the Korres Wild Rose Moisturising Cream, another product I loved. I loved the scent of this, how hydrating it was and how it absorbed really quickly as well as working wonderfully under makeup. Would consider purchasing the full size. So many travel sizes! I'm also finished with my Josie Maran Aragn Milk which I included in my May Beauty Favourites. I have purchased the full size of this because *love heart eyes emoji* - just obsessed! I've also used a Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen which is probably the only eye cream I've been consistent with using because it works so well! Its really refreshing and gives a nice amount of hydration without being too heavy. Every other eye cream I have used in the past has been too heavy and given me milia under the eyes so I absolutely swear by this stuff! Already repurchased. And finally for skincare, I'm getting rid of my Clarisonic Acne Brush Head. I was kindly gifted this at a Clarisonic event last year and it is only just launching in Australia in the next month. I really loved this because the bristles were longer than the regular sensitive brush head which means you could get a deep cleanse without it being too harsh. I just repurchased the Sensitive brush head again to get me through but will probably go back to this one in the future.

Finally onto makeup bits! Firstly I had a big mascara clean out and got rid of all the mascaras that has been floating around in my collection for way too long and just ready to give me some sort of eye infection. The Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara was nice and gave heaps of volume but it had a plastic bristle wand which I don't really like. Won't repurchase. Next up, Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara, god I hate this stuff which is such a same because I'm a huge fan of their other mascaras. Again, its the plastic bristle issue but I find this just makes my lashes so clumpy, obviously will not repurchase. Another, plastic bristle brush, the Maybelline Lash Sensational is one I actually really love. I really liked how this made my lashes look, added heaps of length and separation. Will not repurchase though as Maybelline tests on animals :( Finally the Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara, again quite nice but is quite natural and didn't give me the length that I like from a mascara. I think this would be better suited for someone with longer lashes. Will not repurchase.
I'm finally getting rid of the L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper. If you read my review on this product I was less than impressed with this product. Maybe you would like it if you like your brows to feel hard and crunchy. Not even going to link this product because seriously you don't want to buy it. Moving onto some of my favourite products ever, first is the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. This is my favourite eye primer ever because it allows you to blend shadows really easily over the top, which I sometimes have trouble with if I use either the UD Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. This tube lasted me about a year too, so it's great value and I've already repurchased! I also loved the Kevin Aucoin Precision Brow Pencil and much prefer this over the Anastasia Brow Wiz. Will repurchase once I finish my current brow pencil. I also used up a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper, which I didn't warm to immediately but it's definitely my favourite liquid liner now I've got the hang of it and I love that it is so intensely black. I've already repurchased. Finally is the NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear Eye pencil in Rue Bonaparte. A product I constantly rave about its a perfect beige shade for the waterline, repurchased of course.

So glad I can finally throw out all of these products!

Let me know in the comments if you use any of these products and if you like any of the ones I didn't!

xx Cat

Friday, 22 July 2016

What always happens...Life

Illustration by @bymariandrew

I don't really use this blog as a platform much anymore. It was my outlet to talk about beauty and now my job is to talk about beauty and being busy with uni and work and life its hard to keep a regular schedule. I do still like to share things with you guys and I thought I would do a little life update before uni starts back again.

The last two months I've been on break from uni and to be honest I wish I had done more exciting things but most of the time I spent picking up extra shifts at work, spending the money I had made picking up extra shifts at work on makeup and many solo netflix and chill sessions (sad I least I didn't start playing Pokemon).

Apart from being super lazy I also really got into listening to podcasts. This American Life is my absolute favourite and I've been going back to earlier years and listening to their back catalog. The best way to listen to new episodes is to subscribe through iTunes but if you want to search and listen to past episodes you'll need to download their app. I also went to see the live show Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host - which was Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, telling stories from the show combined with dancing and it was fantastic and so hilarious. I also listened to every single episode of Starlee Kine's podcast Mystery Show, which surprise surprise, involves solving mysteries. I would highly recommend and Starlee Kine is so interesting to listen to. You can download on iTunes.

Unfortunately I didn't get to read as many books as I wanted during the break, in fact I only finished one and it was Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places. I didn't realise it was YA when I started reading it, but I continued to read because it was a nice and easy way to pass the time on train rides. I did enjoy it in the end and despite being YA it was really emotionally challenging as it touched a lot on mental illness and suicide. I thought overall the characters were written quite well and were interesting to read which definitely kept me engaged despite the gross teenage love plot. It also had heaps of literary allusions, particularly to Virginia Woolf, which I really appreciated being an English major and Woolf being my favourite author so overall would definitely recommend.

I just wanted to reflect a little on the picture I included at the top of this post (make sure you check out the artist @bymariandrew on instagram her illustrations are amazing and so relatable!). Something really struck me about her drawing because I feel like it reflects what my life has been like for most of this year. In March, my four year relationship ended. Being single has been really strange for me, especially after so long and to be honest I'm really struggling to be by myself. Of course there has been some great things to come of it and most importantly for me I have never been so motivated to be social and work on my friendships. I was reminded of how many amazing, beautiful and supportive friends I have in my life who make me feel valued and confident. I still struggle with being by myself and having thoughts that I need to be in a relationship (which I know I don't need to). But Mari Andrew's drawing made me realise that love is just one piece in the big picture. In the last couple of months I've been able to still enjoy my life and have adventures and spend time writing and being creative and hanging out with my mum and dancing to Destiny's Child as I wash the dishes. I hope over the next coming months I can become even more confident in myself and truly believe that I don't need a romantic relationship for my life to be fulfilling.

I have got a few beauty related posts all ready to go so look out for those in the next week or so!

xx Cat

Friday, 3 June 2016

Best of Beauty // May 2016

 Welcome back to the blog! I've been stuck in a bit of a beauty rut for a while but in the last month I've been trying some really great products and wanted to share them with you.

On my search for some awesome cruelty free products to add into my collection I purchased a few products from Josie Maran. All Josie Maran products are based off 100% organic argan oil that is also sustainably harvested and pressed. I've used some of Josie's colour range before and her highlighters are my absolute favourite! In the last month however, I've really been loving her Argan Oil Hair Serum as well as the Pure Argan Milk Treatment. The Argan Hair Oil has been amazing for keeping my hair silky soft as well as reducing frizziness. I have really fine hair and the oil is light enough that it gives heaps of hydration without weighing down my hair at oil. The Pure Argan Milk is something I've been wanting to try for ages and grabbed because I was on the hunt for a new serum. The texture is really thin and feels similar to a facial oil on the skin. I really love it because it is super hydrating and gives your skin a noticeable glow straight away. I would definitely recommend adding this into your nighttime skincare routine, especially as we enter the colder months.

My first makeup favourite this month is a lipstick I've had in my collection for a while but have re-discovered and I just haven't wanted to wear anything else! The Lipstick Queen Lipstick in 'Nude Sinner' is the most beautiful deep nude shade that pulls almost terracotta on me - absolutely perfect for autumn! The best thing about these lipsticks is the beautiful formula. They are super creamy and opaque with a matte finish that lasts incredibly well on the lips. Lipstick Queen is the brand of Aussie Poppy King and is completely cruelty free.

My next makeup favourite is a fairly new release. Hourglass has recently added to their Ambient Lighting collection with three new Ambient Amplifying Primers that give you the same particular lighting effect as their powders, but as the first step in your routine. My favourite has been 'Mood Light' which is a soft pink shade that is evens out the skin tone (which you can see in the photo below) and gives the skin a subtle glow. I found the primer also really smoothing on my skin and did give some extra longevity to my makeup.
Left: No makeup. Right: Ambient Amplifying Primer in 'Mood Light'

My final favourite for May is also from Hourglass. Hourglass is one of my all time favourite brands and their Ambient Lighting Palette is one of the most special makeup products I own. The palette has three shades of Hourglass' famous Ambient Lighting powders which give the skin a beautiful, soft focus glow - Dim Light is great for using all over the face to set foundation, Incandescent Light is a gorgeous highlighter shade and Radiant Light is a light bronze shade that I love to use around the edges of the face for a bit of warmth. I've been reaching for this palette almost every day during May and every time I use these powders I love the way my skin looks! In particular, Incandescent Light has been my choice to create an beautiful strobing effect.

If you are interested in cruelty free makeup I would definitely recommend checking out Hourglass. Hourglass is the most luxurious brand with beautiful packaging and incredibly high-quality products.

That's all for this month!
xx Cat