Giveaway & Review: MAC x Lorde Lipstick in Pure Heroine!

I HAVE A VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE: I am hosting my FIRST GIVEAWAY!

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Recently I had to make an EMERGENCY MAC PURCHASE (!) and thought I’d carpe diem the opportunity to pick up TWO of a certain lipstick colour so I could GIVE ONE AWAY. ARE YOU EXCITED YET?! ARE YOU SICK OF ME TYPING IN CAPS LOCK YET??! DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS??!

Naturally, I’m talking about the MAC x Lorde Pure Heroine lipstick, which is very wittily titled. As a New Zealander and a budding makeup artist, I had to pick one of these up.

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Holy crap I’m excited. Here I’ve swatched MAC Heroine (left) and MAC Pure Heroine (right) to compare the two. MAC Heroine is much more matte, and a little more purple. MAC Pure Heroine is an amplified finish, and it is the most amazing velvety texture.

The colour is kind of like they added a tiny bit of Rebel to MAC Heroine and then made the finish FANTASTIC. They could have just as easily called it “Winter Heroine” because it has that wintery-berry feel while still retaining that Heroine quality.

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This is Pure Heroine on my face. It’s much more of a satiny finish than Heroine as you can see, and it feels a little more moisturizing. I am in LOVE with this colour, and I feel like it’s one I’ve been trying to recreate for a long time. GOOD WORK LORDE, GOOD WORK MAC.

Now YOU have the chance to win a MAC x Lorde Pure Heroine lipstick for yourself. Just jump on over here to enter! There are bonus entries for tweeting about the giveaway too so get tweeting and make sure you’re following my Facebook page for more updates.

THANK YOU TO YOU ALL FOR BEING TOP NOTCH READERS AND BEST OF LUCK FOR THE GIVEAWAY

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Article & Haul: Korean Skincare Party!

Today, an interesting-looking parcel landed on our doorstep.

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Jonny was confused by it. I was hugely excited. It was a parcel sent to me by the lovely Abby, who is living in Korea! She sent me a LOT of beautiful samples of Korean skincare, many of which I have been absolutely dying to try out.

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Abby was so so generous and I cannot thank her enough. I am truly overwhelmed by this amazing little parcel – for me, this is more exciting than six BeautyJoint parcels or maybe even a MAC parcel. She also sent me the most gorgeous blue-based pink (my favourite kind of pink) Etude House lipstick which you can see at the bottom right of the above photo.

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There are five different types of masks which I am very excited about (I love Korean sheet masks) as well as heaps of toners and creams, essences, emulsions and cleansers. There are also things like the “Milk Talk” below – I don’t even know what it does yet but the packaging is beautiful. I can’t wait to review them all!

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I’m particularly ecstatic about trying the Etude House lipstick, the Innisfree Green Tea range, the Tony Moly mask, the Tony Moly Red Appletox Honey cream and the Etude House Milk Talk.

OIL CLEANSERS
The Face Shop Pore Clean Cleansing Oil with Cherryblossom
Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil

SECOND CLEANSERS
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
Etude House Baking Powder BB Deep Cleansing Fom
Innisfree Calming Gel Cleanser
Etude House AC Clinic Daily Skin Care Kit

TONERS/SKINS
The Face Shop the Smim Toner
Innisfree Green Tea Pure Skin
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner
Tony Moly Floria Whitening Petal Toner
Tony Moly Berianne Skin

MASKS
Tony Moly Floria Nutra-Energy Mask Sheet with Argan Oil
Beauty Factory 7 Days Aloe Mask
Etude House Pomegranate Natural Mask
Etude House Pearl Extract Natural Mask
Dewy Tree Honey Moist Black Sheet Mask

ESSENCES/SERUMS
The Face Shop Core Seed Purifying Essence
Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum
Innisfree Eco Science Wrinkle Spot Essence

EMULSIONS
The Face Shop The Smim Emulsion
Laneige Moisture Balancing Emulsion
Tony Moly Floria Whitening Emulsion

CREAMS/MOISTURISERS/LOTIONS
Tony Moly Berianne Lotion
Etude House Face Conditioning Cream
Tony Moly Red Appletox Honey Cream
Etude House Collagen Moistfull Cream
Innisfree The Minimum Moist Cream
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Mosturiser

OTHER
Laneige Moisture Power Essential Skin Refiner
Skinfood Watery Berry Sun Lotion
Innisfree Tangerine Blossom Perfumed Body Cleanser
Tony Moly Perfumed Body Classic Shower Gel
VedaCel Hairich Shampoo and Conditioner
Aquamoist
Etude House Milk Talk in Strawberry

MAKE UP
Tony Moly Live Aura Luminous Live Aura CC Cream
Etude House CC Cream Silky
Etude House Pore Ever Pore Primer Essence
Etude House Dear My Blooming Lips-talk in PK015

I will be reviewing each and every single one of these in the coming months so keep an eye out. If you have any from the list that you’re really curious about, let me know and I’ll review it sooner!

Have you used any of these products? Are there any favourites of yours in here? Let me know in the comments!

Haul & Review: The Pink Bambu Bdellium Decision + My Top 3 Brushes

It doesn’t matter if you only put on a bit of foundation and blush every day, or if you’re a full-blown make up artist – there comes a time in every make up addict’s life when they realise that they need a set of brushes.

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I was lucky enough be able to buy this 22 piece set of pink bambu Bdellium brushes. In a week, I start studying to become a make up artist. This is very exciting for me, and as a long-time user of low-cost brush sets, I decided that it was finally time to take the plunge and get a higher quality set I could use in a professional capacity.

It was important to me that these brushes were vegan, super soft, and had long enough handles for me to use with my giant hands. I didn’t want brushes that shedded, and they also needed to be reasonably priced because I’m not quite on a MAC or Hakuhodo brush budget just yet.

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I arrived at the Bdellium Pink Bambu choice after browsing a few different Facebook groups of make up artists and professionals, and asking others in-the-know about what they’d recommend. In the end, it came down to a toss up between Bdellium and Royal & Langnickel. I chose the Bdellium purely because as an aesthetically-concerned individual, their website was much better and the brushes were much prettier.

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Out of all the brushes in this set, I have a couple of favourites, and the #949 pointed foundation brush is one of them. I love this brush because HOLY DAMN it is so soft. I cannot even deal with how beautiful this brush is. I haven’t used it yet because I just want to sit and look at it. While I understand that this is ridiculous, I feel like I need a good occasion to christen it and that occasion hasn’t arisen yet.

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Next on the highlights list is the #776 blending brush. This is supposed to be a dupe for the MAC 217 brush which I am lusting after like there is no tomorrow, and I could definitely do with about six of these Bdellium ones.

This brush is the Mary Poppins of brushes – practically perfect in every way. It is beautifully soft and works fantastically, is well-priced at $9 US (what is this price i don’t even) and as a vegan dupe for a best-seller in a better colour (pink), I’m not sure what more anyone could ask for. If you don’t have one, you should buy one.

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I am also extremely happy with this #540 precision liner brush. It picks up shadow and liner perfectly and is the optimal blend of firmness and softness. I can pick up a high-pigment black shadow like Urban Decay’s Blackout and apply it under my lash line almost just like liquid liner, or use it with liquid or gel liner for a top notch result. I’m in love.

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Overall, these brushes are (almost) too perfect to use. If you haven’t tried Bdellium brushes yet, I strongly urge you to pick up a couple, perhaps starting with the #776 blending brush. For those of you who live in NZ, Amazon is also a good place to pick up Bdellium brushes. I got my full set from Amazon because the Bdellium site didn’t like my New Zealand card.

Have you heard of the Bdellium Tools brushes before? What are your favourite brushes? Let me know in the comments!

Haul & Review: Cutie & Beautie + Lioele Face Mask

As you know, I was sent a few samples from Cutie & Beautie and upon trialling them, discovered what might be the best BB cream in the entire world. When I bought the Lioele Triple the Solution BB Cream from Cutie & Beautie I also picked up this Lioele Essential Mask Sheet in the Red Ginseng variety. They kindly sent me the Skin79 Aloe Fresh Mask Sheet and a wee sample of the C.A.D. Oxygen Pore Cream by Lioele free of charge, which was a wonderful surprise!

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I haven’t tried the Aloe Fresh mask sheet or the pore cream yet, and I think you already know how I feel about the Lioele BB Cream (I want to marry it) so today I’m going to do a quick review of the Red Ginseng Essential Mask.

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This mask is designed to smooth and lift your skin, and I think it probably did that. I took some photos of my face in the mask but I honestly look like Hannibal Lecter so if you weren’t so lucky as to be privy to my Snapchats, you’ll have to email me for the photos. I read Sara’s review here and she has a few pictures for reference in her post.

The mask itself is cold and wet when you take it out of the sachet, but in a pleasant, refreshing way, not in a Labrador-nose kind of way. My skin was tired and a little dehydrated when I applied this mask, and I had a few blemishes. I didn’t notice any sensation while the mask was on apart from cooling.

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After twenty minutes I took off the mask and checked my skin out in the mirror. It seemed noticeably plumper and more hydrated (probably to be expected) and I feel as though my forehead wrinkles had been smoothed out a little. My skin tone seemed less red and more even, and my pimples also looked smaller and less noticeable.

Overall, I was impressed with how it made my skin look and feel, and I’d definitely buy this one again. I felt very pampered wearing this, although I think I gave my fellow Snapchat users a little fright.

Have you tried out cotton face masks? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 

Haul: Beautyjoint Blushes and Lipsticks!

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This morning, a familiarly-packaged parcel landed on my doorstep. It was the baby Beautyjoint haul I’d ordered ten days ago!

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In this haul, I picked up two of the Wet N Wild lipsticks that I felt were missing from my collection; Cherry Bomb and Vamp it Up, as well as two blushes – the Milani Luminoso Baked Blush and the NYX Bourgeouis Pig blush.

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I have heard that Luminoso is very similar to NARS’ Orgasm, and I’ve also heard great things about the Milani Baked Blushes which is why I ordered this blush. I also have my eye on Rose D’Oro but thought I’d give Luminoso a fair go first.

The reason I picked up the NYX blush was because I’ve been on the hunt for a bright, warm pink for evening wear, and the name cracked me up.

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With regard to the lipsticks, I chose them because they’re supposed to be good dupes for a couple of the MAC lipsticks I’ve been lusting after. I realise now after Googling it that Cherry Bomb is supposed to be a dupe for MAC’s Diva which I already have! I might do some comparison swatches if you guys are keen?

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Vamp It Up, on the other hand, is supposed to be a dupe for MAC’s Cyber. As a lover of deep, purple and burgundy-hued lipsticks, the prospect of trying out Cyber before I added another MAC lipstick to my collection is all too exciting. I might try this colour under my MAC Magenta and Nightmoth pencils too!

I will swatch and review these lipsticks and blushes very soon.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Haul: Korean Skincare from BeautyNetKorea!

You know how obsessed I’ve been over Korean beauty lately, and today was the day that my parcel arrived from BeautyNetKorea.

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I was so surpised with the speed at which it arrived – I think I ordered last week and it’s already here despite the 15-30 day shipping guidelines on the website!

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I picked up four main products to start me off on my Korean skincare routine. To recap, the Korean skincare system differs from the standard Western three-step (cleanse/tone/moisturise) in that there are often six or more steps including a double-cleanse (oil-based makeup remover, then a foaming cleanse), less astringent toner, emulsions, serums or essences, and moisturisers. The aim is to lock in layers of moisture, not strip the skin of natural oils.

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First I purchased the Innisfree Apple Juicy Lip & Eye Remover. I spoke about this in a lust list here, and as a lover of apple scents, Sheryll’s review on it was a tipping point. I caved and bought it. As I understand it, this acts like an initial cleanser in the double-cleanse routine.

The product looks like cloudy apple juice in the bottle and when I shook it gently it all came together like cloudy apple juice does. Upon opening this stuff, I’ve realised I’m going to have to exercise some real self-restraint in not drinking it. It smells like apples grown by unicorns.

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The second product I picked up was this Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner. I cannot count the number of positive reviews I’ve read about this stuff, and the 7-in-1 promise of deep pore cleansing, ph maintenance, sebum control, pore minimization, skin tone refinement, moisturizing action and skin elasticity maintenance was too much to pass up.

This wonder pore freshner is designed to be used like a toner, and you pat it all over your face after cleansing and before emulsions or essences. I’ve read that you can mix it with serums and essences to dilute them a little and I’m really excited to try it.

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The third product is this beautifully packaged Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence. I was worried it would smell like snails or bees or something (?!) but it just smells like a skin product. I heard great things about this essence too, especially in conjunction with the fourth product I bought.
It’s supposed to repair and whiten your skin as well as remove wrinkles and cleanse, and I will be applying this after my toner and before my final cream.

I read a little bit about the snail mucus/bee venom hype that seems to exist at the moment in Korean skincare and there is some scientific evidence that it’s not just hype. Really excited about this one.

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The final item is the Benton High Content Steam Cream. From what I gather, steam creams are moisturisers that have been combined at high temperatures to ensure that they emulsify together in a different way. Like with the snail mucus/bee venom thing, there also seems to be some hype about steam creams and this one had rave reviews.

Skin and Tonics interviewed the founders of Benton and after reading the interview I was super excited to try this one. The pottle isn’t particularly big, but the cream looks super moisturising and after toner and essence I don’t think I’ll need to use a lot.

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I was also sent some super cute little samples – the Etude House Baby Choux Base, which I think is a primer, the Tony Moly seaweed aqua moisture lotion which is a gel moisturiser-type product, and the Tony Moly I’m Real Avocado Rich Cream which I will probably use after the Seaweed lotion before bed.

I’ll review these products after a week or so of my new skincare routine, which I’m really excited about!

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know if you have any recommendations or wisdom on them because I’m a total newbie to skincare! 

Haul and Review: Best Boyfriend Ever Birthday Edition

This morning was a morning just like any other. J got up, showered, put on his collared shirt and kissed me goodbye. The cat pushed his head through the door and miaowed grumpily at me for some time, then gave up and settled down in his favourite corner of our room. I fell back into slumber and dreamed something curious.

There was a heavy knock at the front door. I remembered: my MAC order. Eagerly, I had followed its journey across the United States to Oregon, and then across the ocean to New Zealand. It had arrived at the airport yesterday and I had high hopes that it would arrive today.

Never in my life have I sprinted up the stairs to that front door so quickly. Never have I been so unabashed about wearing my boyfriend’s fluorescent orange robe in front of a courier driver. Never have I experienced such great stress at not being able to find my keys.

I opened the door. I signed for the parcel. It was finally here.

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For my birthday, J let me pick some things from the MAC website, and we got them YouShopped across to New Zealand. I got a clear brow set, five lipsticks, and a four pan custom eyeshadow palette. For the same price in New Zealand I probably would have received three or four MAC lipsticks.

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Today I’m going to swatch and review the five lipsticks that J bought me for my birthday. As I’ve said before, I love darker shades and purples, so I purchased Diva, Ruby Woo, Rebel, Heroine, and Girl About Town.

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I’m so into Heroine, Ruby Woo and Diva it’s not even funny. All of these lipsticks are long-wearing, smooth and very high quality.

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Let’s start with Diva. This lipstick is aptly named – it reminds me of something that Aretha Franklin or maybe Mariah Carey would wear. It’s a very classic, deep burgundy colour, and as you can see above, it will bleed like crazy if you don’t line your lips. It’s not too drying, but it will go a little patchy if you don’t moisturise your lips before applying it. I am so in love with this colour and I think I might even wear it out during the day (!).

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Second of all, I picked up Rebel. I do love this colour, but I don’t think I’ll wear it as much as some of the others. It’s slightly less matte than the Wet N Wild Sugar Plum Fairy colour and possibly a tiny bit more red. This lipstick, like all the other MAC lipsticks, smells very vanilla-y, and you need a couple of swipes to get a good colour. It’s a great lipstick but I’m weirdly not as sold on it as I thought I would be!

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Ruby Woo is my favourite red of all the classic red lipsticks that I’ve tried. I love the slightly blue-r base and I love the formula. When I applied it I thought I was going to look a little clown-esque but I think it came out fine. I’m very happy with this colour and although I’ll probably whiten my teeth so I feel more comfortable wearing it, it’s going to be a new favourite.

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Contrary to my facial expression, this is possibly my favourite of the lot. This is Heroine, and it’s a wonderful pale violet colour. I was worried that it was going to be too purple, and that I might look like a cartoon character, but I think it looks fantastic. I am so happy with this colour and I’ll definitely be wearing it out. The formula isn’t too drying but again, you definitely want to put a lip balm on before application.

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Last but not least is Girl About Town. This is a classic blue-based bright fuschia, and it definitely needs a few swipes to get good coverage. I bought it because I thought I could mix it with some of the other colours to make different pinky-purple hues, and because I love a deep pink lipstick. It is creamier than the others, and I feel like it would be great on most skin tones. A good staple lipstick to have.

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All in all I’m so stoked with the lipsticks that I’ve received. I think I picked good colours for my tastes, and I don’t regret not buying a nude. All of these lipsticks are long-wearing, and frankly quite hard to get off! The darker ones seem to bleed a little, but that’s nothing a lip liner won’t fix. Later this week I’ll do a swatch and review of the eye shadows I got too so keep an eye out!

Do you own any of these MAC lipsticks? I’ve love to hear your thoughts on these colours!

Haul and Review: BeautyJoint and Drugstore Essentials

Today I came home to a little parcel from BeautyJoint.com. I have purchased things from this website many times and am always happy with the prices, as well as the shipping cost and the shipping speed.

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This haul was a very exciting one because I’d purchased a bunch of things that I have been meaning to try for a while. Namely, the Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara, the Elf Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder, the DUO Eyelash glue, the Elf Studio Eyebrow Kit, the Jordana Fabuliner Liquid Liner, and the LA Girl Pro Concealer. Note, I didn’t get the Chi Chi BB Cream in the photo above from BeautyJoint but I did buy it on the same day!

I have read and heard amazing things about all of these products and bought them on reccommendations. In this blog I’ll briefly review all of the BeautyJoint products. In the photo above I’m wearing all of the products that I received in my haul (except the Duo glue) so you can see how they come out. I will save the Chi Chi BB Cream review for after I’ve worn it all day!

1. Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara

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JORDANA BEST LASH MASCARA IS AMAZING. It needs to be written in caps lock and flown on banners from rooftops all across the world. This mascara compares to nearly every high-end mascara I’ve ever tried, and it’s much better than some of them too. At less than $4 US, it’s also a lot cheaper.

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I first heard Arna over on Arna Alayne talking about this mascara in a “Top Make Up Products” Video and made a mental note to pick some up. I’ve only mascara-d one eye in the above photo so you can see the effect. The effect is possibly clearer in the first photo in this post. The mascara is amazing though – highly recommend to everyone!

2. Elf Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder

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Another one I heard about on YouTube on Shaaanxo’s “Best of 2013” video. I was very impressed by this powder! The pigment is extremely fine, which is what you need with an undereye powder, and it is quite brightening and sheer too so it makes you look more awake. The packaging is solid and easy to use too, which is not always the case with lower-cost items.

I put this on about four hours ago and checking in the mirror just now I can see that my undereye concealer has not creased or budged at all! I’m beginning to think that this might become a staple product in my beauty arsenal. Very impressed and highly recommended.

3. DUO Eyelash glue

It’s glue. You use it to stick on your fake eyelashes. It bonds well, it doesn’t smell too bad, and dries clear. It’s hard to get off your lashes afterwards but that’s nothing a good make-up remover won’t fix.

If you’ve never tried Duo and you need a lash glue I don’t think you have many options – either keep using the terrible little vials of glue they sometimes include with your lashes, or get Duo glue or Ardell’s LashGrip. Eyelash glue isn’t a particularly exciting thing to buy and in my experience both Duo and LashGrip seem to have been created relatively equal.

4. Elf Studio Eyebrow Kit

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Now this, unlike lash glue, is something to get excited about. As a blonde, I often find it hard to get a natural-looking brow colour with the powders, pencils and waxes that are out there. The Rimmel pencils are too red for me, and the Topshop ones are a little too dark. The Elf Studio Eyebrow Kit in Ash, however, is just right.

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I used these two brushes with the kit instead of the flimsy applicator that they supply you with (Make Up 101: the applicator included in your make up will probably be crappy and should be used only in an emergency). The Elf Studio Eyebrow wax is very pale and the powder in the brow kit is also quite pale, but matches my eyebrows perfectly.

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This means that I get a nice, natural-looking brow colour for lighter daytime make up without too much hassle. Please excuse my chipped polish!

5. Jordana Fabuliner Liquid Liner

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For something designed to be applied to one’s eyelids, this liner was awfully needle-like. Some of my other pen-style liners have had fine-tip brush applicators so that they don’t poke your eye out, but weirdly, this one doesn’t have the same kind of applicator. It’s like using a very small, very firm, pointy Crayola marker to draw on your eye make up.

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I found it much harder than usual to get my left eye even but I think that it will become easier as I get more used to the product. I probably wouldn’t buy this again, but I don’t regret buying it either.

6. LA Girl Pro Concealer

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I was expecting this to provide higher coverage. It didn’t provide a low coverage, but perhaps I’d just over-hyped it in my head. In saying that, it is still a very good concealer and I would probably purchase it again. I do like the little brush applicator as it’s easier to apply precisely and you don’t waste half the product squeezing it out on your finger or losing it on a brush beforehand.

It’s also a very good colour. Often I find it difficult to get a pale enough concealer, and the colour range that LA Girl have in these concealers is impressive, particularly for the price. I would recommend this to a friend, especially if they were looking for a low-cost alternative to a higher end product, or if they had a very pale or very dark skin tone.

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Overall, I’m ecstatic about the great products that I’ve ended up with here. I think I’ve found something of a Holy Grail mascara with the Jordana Best Lash Extreme mascara, and the Elf Studio Eyebrow Kit and High Definition Undereye Setting powder are also amazing finds. The best part about it is that they were all so well-priced!

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Do you have any drugstore staples or favourites? What are they?

Urban Outfitters Haul: Unicorns, Cats and Bunnies

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I recently ordered a few things from Urban Outfitters for my birthday. Along with two very cute Tony Moly products I purchased my FIRST EVER LIME CRIME LIPSTICK (!!!) – Countessa Fluorescent (US $18). I am absolutely in love with this lipstick and the best thing about it (aside from the purple and silver unicorn packaging, of course), is that the Lime Crime lippies are cruelty free.

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Countessa Fluorescent is a kind of blue-based, rich, bright pink. I wore this lipstick for my birthday dinner out with my partner and the staying power was quite impressive. I was apprehensive about wearing such a bright lipstick but it came out quite well with my fair complexion and was a nice pop of colour.

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I am looking at getting some more of these Lime Crime lippies and am quite set on Poisonberry – loving the purple hues at the moment as we come into Autumn/Winter in New Zealand.

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Next, ladies and gentlefolk, I opened the Tony Moly “Cat’s Wink” mascara (US $12). From my understanding, Tony Moly is a Korean brand. It is hard to know a lot about it because much of the information is in another language. It is harder to get in New Zealand but if you know somewhere that sells more Tony Moly please let me know in the comments – so many super cute things.

I bought this mascara initially because I was dying over how cute the packaging was. The description says that it volumizes, lengthens and curls. It lengthens for sure, but it doesn’t volumize or curl very much. I do like the brush a lot and the application is easy but I don’t like the formula. It does set nicely but I find it hard to get off my lashes and it does go a little cakey. I’ll persevere with this a little but at this stage I prefer my Rimmel Extra Wow Lash mascara! 

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Last of all, I got this outrageously adorable Petite Bunny Gloss Bar (US $8). I cannot rave enough about this little gloss. It glides on smoother than a balm and adds a little colour and a little shine. It is perfect for everyday wear if you don’t want to go for a lipstick, and moisturises your lips at the same time.  I got the peach flavour here (the smell is amazing) but there were also strawberry, grape, apple, cherry and orange flavours on the Urban Outfitters site. I’ve got my eye on the cherry and grape flavours because they are very cute and very good quality products.

It wasn’t the biggest haul but it was a very cute one. Any make up featuring unicorns, cats or bunnies is sure to get my vote. What are some of  your favourite animal-themed make up items?