2020 Palette Round Up: Part 2

Last week I posted part one of my palette round up so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already! Like that post I will be giving a rundown on what was used each month, sharing general thoughts and mentioning my favourite shades. None of the palettes in this part of the round up will be leaving my collection but I would like to cut down on single shadows, there are a couple I don’t really reach for. Let’s dive in!

May to July – Colourpop 9 pan palettes: Lilac You a Lot & Strawberry shake

Lilac You a Lot is the newest nine pan palette to feature in this challenge. This palette arrived in March and on first impressions I remember thinking how stunning it is. It is different from It’s My Pleasure as it’s got deeper matte purples and the overall tone of the shades is lighter. You can create looks with depth or create something with a light pop of colour. I loved playing with this palette!

Favourite shades: Imagine That, Fluff, Trainwreck, Iffy and Filtered.

Colourpop’s strawberry collection is one of the cutest they have released in my opinion! The outer cardboard packaging is stunning and strawberries are one of my favourite fruits so this palette is right up my street – I like it a lot! Of course all the monochromatic palettes are cohesive but I personally enjoy every shade in this one and think they all mix and match flawlessly. I love how the pops of colour work with the soft, neutral tones and shimmers.

Favourite shades: Whipped, Delish and Berry Fine.

August – BH Cosmetics x Shaaanxo – The Remix Palette

This is one of the best palettes I own, I have talked about it a lot on the blog! One side is full of classic neutral shades and the other side is more playful and colourful. Both sides work with each other and it makes for endless combinations. The pan size is decent too, it would be almost double one of the Colourpop monochromatic palette pans. The formula of these shadows is one of my favourites, the mattes are easy to blend and don’t skip or feel drying and the shimmers are incredibly smooth. The shimmers do have a slight slip compared to some others in my collection but they still build up nicely and the colour payoff is there. I love this as an everyday palette as it covers so many bases.

Favourite shades: Clarity, Buttercup, Beach Babe, Toasted, Avocado, Need U and Babygirl.

September – xoBeauty Heaps of Sweets

When this palette was announced I told myself I didn’t need it as The Remix Palette had some similar tones but the palettes are quite different. These shimmers are more intense and the mattes are a different texture – I do prefer the texture of the mattes in The Remix Palette as they are easier to work with but the tones of the mattes in Heaps of Sweets are beautiful. The mix of warm and cool tones is nice and there’s something for everybody. I can confirm the purple shimmer shade, Lollipop, performs well and looks just as incredible on the eyes as it does in the pan!

Favourite shades: Gumdrop, Brownie, Vanilla, Lollipop, Macaron and Cupcake.

October – Single shadows

Single shadows are probably my favourite way to wear eyeshadow, sometimes palettes overwhelm me and I get confused – I like simplicity. Single shadows are a breeze to work with and when you find a range or certain colours you like it’s easy to recreate go to looks that are tried and tested. I love to swipe on a shadow with my finger and be done, I’m all about simple and quick and the least amount of blending possible. I also find not having a lot of eye space single shadow looks are less complicated. I’ve got a real mixed bag of single shadows; shimmery pigments, liquid shadows, creme-gel like textures as well as creams and powders. You really can’t go wrong with Colourpop’s Supershock Shadows and I’d like to do a rundown (probably on Instagram) of the best shades (in my opinion).

Favourite single shadows: Zoella Supernova Shadow – Bellini, MAC – Tan pigment, Colourpop Supershock Shadows in Nillionare, Weenie, I Heart This and Slave2Pink.

November – Urban Decay Naked 2

This is the Naked palette that always appealed to me most with it’s cool, neutral tones and when I heard it was being discontinued I purchased it because I didn’t want to miss out and regret not buying the palette in future. Of course I have similar shades in other palettes but this is such a classic that inspired a ton of those other palettes and the shades all work together like a dream. The quality of these shadows is beautiful, what an individual likes in an eyeshadow formula is personal but I find these soft and easy to blend and layer up. The shimmers are not chunky, they are smooth and look stunning! If I could only keep a couple of palettes after the end of this challenge this would be in my top three for sure! If you have fair skin and love cool tones, pick up this palette before it’s gone, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Favourite shades: Bootycall, Chopper, Suspect, Pistol and YDK.


I hope you enjoyed this round up of everything I used on my eyes this year! This challenge was fun and knowing what I was going to use each day made doing my makeup a lot easier.

Throughout 2020 I added a couple of new palettes and single shadows to my collection which I didn’t include as part of this challenge. I’m excited to play with them in the New Year!

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GRWM: Luxurious Makeup Look

I am lucky enough to have some really beautiful makeup products that aren’t exactly on the lower end of the price spectrum. Before I purchase a product I always look up reviews and do my research, especially if I’m considering parting with a substantial amount of money. I definitely feel comfortable splurging in some areas and saving money in others. I know what works for my skin and how I want my makeup to turn out.

I wanted to be a little boujee and create a look using as many luxury products as possible. I didn’t doubt for a minute the look would come together well and I’m so pleased with it!

Products listed in order of application:

Products marked with an * means I didn’t have a luxury alternative

1. Olay Complete UV Lotion Sensitive*

2. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer – I sampled this primer last year and fell in love with it straight away. I purchased a full size during lockdown. It makes my skin feel silky smooth and foundation applies beautifully over the top. A little goes a long way as this spreads really easily over the skin. It feels moisturising but it’s not at all greasy.

3. Rimmel Professional Brow Pencil in 002 Hazel*

4. YSL Touche Éclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation in B10 Porcelain – This is as close to a holy grail foundation that I have discovered so far. The shade is such a perfect match for my skin – it’s the right amount of warm and cool and like the primer, a little goes a long way. One layer is enough and the consistency of the foundation is light but blendable. Product is very easy to move around the face. This foundation makes your skin look like skin but enhances it and gives a dewy, healthy glow. I’m so impressed every time I wear it!

5. MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW10 – This concealer blends nicely on top of the YSL foundation. It can be layered up and covers redness and spots well. This can sink into lines if my skin is feeling dry but using a good primer and foundation combats that. Studio Finish also feels lightweight and doesn’t clog my skin or make me oily.

6. Rimmel Match Perfection Translucent Setting Powder*

7. Milani Eyeshadow Primer*

8. xoBeauty Heaps of Sweets Palette – This palette cost around $55 (NZD) which compared to lots of other palettes on the market isn’t expensive. Ever since trying xoBeauty a couple of years ago I have been impressed with the price points of products in relation to quality. I tend to use drugstore eyeshadow palettes as I don’t have any high end ones but this is a good in-between. I went for a cool toned eye look, I used the shade Vanilla (light neutral that leans purple) as a base shadow all over the lid, Brownie (chocolate brown) to deepen up the crease and Cupcake (shimmery taupe) for a wash of shimmer.

9. YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils The Curler Mascara – I have been using this little mini since the end of February and it has lasted well! This has a rubber wand which I’m not usually a fan of but this mascara is really pleasant to use. The formula has stayed the same since it’s been open and it gives a bit of length and volume which I love. (Technically this mini wasn’t expensive as I got it as part of a set but if I purchased a full size it would be the priciest mascara in my collection).

10. MAC Double Gleam Extra Dimension Skinfinish – This highlighter literally melts into the skin. A little goes a long way and it gives the skin such a beautiful gleam. The cream-powder formula is flattering and doesn’t accentuate pores. This shade is versatile and one I see myself reaching for a lot as it will go with everything!

11. MAC Warm Soul – I was opting for a rosy-nude lip and knew this blush would be perfect on the cheeks to accompany it. Warm Soul is one of MAC’s Mineralize blushes so it has a baked formula and a gorgeous speckled marble effect that translates onto the skin. Like the highlighter, this blush is such a versatile shade and the combination of this and Double Gleam is a winner.

12. MAC Fix+ Magic Radiance – After setting my base with powder I knew a few sprays of this would re-hydrate the skin and make it look lovely and glowy again. Magic Radiance is even more hydrating than the regular Fix+ and it is packed with Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and essential oils which are all great for the skin. This smells amazing too!

13. Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy – Intense Nude – A work colleague gave me this lipstick as it wasn’t the right shade for her and it was the inspiration behind creating this luxury look. Estée Lauder is a brand I haven’t tried before. The bullet is navy and gold with a magnetic closure – it feels satisfying when the lid snaps back into place. Intense Nude is number 130 in the Pure Envy range and it is described as a moderately warm-toned light plum. This shade isn’t a true nude as it has hints of pink, brown and red but it is one of those shades that is a great everyday colour. The scent is lovely and the lipstick glides over the lips like butter. It’s incredibly comfortable to wear.

The Finished Look:

Close up of my eye makeup using xoBeauty’s Heaps of Sweets palette. Also wearing “The Romantic” lashes by xoBeauty.


Do you own any luxury makeup products?

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The Lockdown Me Spree

I kept everything as ‘normal’ as possible over the lockdown period and I did end up making a handful of online orders. I was in two minds about sharing the items as understandably a lot of people have gone quiet online and are being super mindful of the content they put out.

I do want to say I 100% purchase everything myself and I am in no way bragging. I was fortunate to be in a position to work from home and continue earning my salary. I am very much a saver and also go through periods of time where I don’t spend anything.


Hourglass

Since sampling Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer last year I have wanted the full size, but I held off as this primer is pricey. I purchased the 56ml tube (which is the largest size) as value for money wise it works out the best. This primer feels like silk on the skin and makes foundation apply like a dream over top. It has SPF15 in it too.

xoBeauty

1. Round Face Brush – I didn’t need another foundation brush but I wanted to compare this to my Zoeva 104 Buffer Brush. These two brushes are bigger than my others and I tend to reach for them when my smaller foundations brushes are dirty. This brush is dense and by the time I’ve applied foundation my hand is sore from buffing but the finish it gives is nice and worth it.

2. Kelly Lip Pencil – I only own one other lip pencil but I thought this deep brown toned mauve would work nicely with MAC Viva Glam III and other nude/berry lipsticks in my collection.

3. False eyelashes – Since trying false lashes from xoBeauty in March I have been obsessed with how good they look and I wanted to pick up another couple of pairs in different styles:

“The Girl Next Door” were designed for the utmost natural girls in mind. These are lightweight, natural, and not too long. They are perfect for anyone with not a lot of eye space, or anyone with hooded eyelids. They have a zig-zag pattern that looks feminine and gorgeous!

“The Romantic” were designed for the girly girl who likes a bit of flirt, a bit of length, and a bit of volume! They are super full but do not take over your eyes, so they can be worn day or night. Tapered on the inner corner for comfort, and finished off with a beautiful flick and curve on the ‘Outer V’ to elongate your eye shape.

“The Glamourista” are ideal for any glamorous look! Even though they are slightly more dramatic, you can still get away with wearing them for any occasion, day or night, because they are so wispy and lightweight.

Chemist Warehouse

1. YSL – Black Opium – Since trying a sample of this perfume at the end of 2019 I knew I would pick up a full size eventually. Black Opium is a great everyday perfume or one for date nights – the main note is vanilla but it also has hints of coffee and it’s a very warm, sexy scent.

2. Concealers – Cream concealers are best for my dry skin and I want a back up option if I am unable to pick up Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer – the brand is not widely available in New Zealand. I’ve always been curious to try Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Concealer and I’ve also heard Arna Alayne praise the L’Oreal Infallible More Than Concealer on her YouTube channel as a great full coverage option.

3. Revlon Diamond Shine Gel Envy Top Coat – This is the top coat I currently use and it is great so I picked up a backup. The width of the brush is perfect and the top coat spreads so easily. It gives a lovely shine to nail polish and doesn’t chip easily.

MAC

1. Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Double Gleam – Double Gleam is a liquid-powder highlighter that gives a luminous, well-defined finish and is described as a beige that breaks silver. As I carry out my challenge of using one eyeshadow palette and highlighter per month I’m learning what textures I like and what works best on my skin. I have a few highlighters in the same colour family as Double Gleam but ultimately I enjoy being a minimalist and only keeping products I really love. I’m hoping Double Gleam will allow me to let go of a couple of other products I don’t reach for as often.

2. Love Me Lipsticks in Hey, Frenchie! and Très Blasé – I mentioned I was curious to try these shades when I reviewed Laissez-Faire, (also from the Love Me Range). Hey, Frenchie! is a deep mauvey nude and Très Blasé is a light peachy beige. I ordered both of these from the same company but there was a stock issue with Très Blasé so I am waiting for an ETA to hear when it will ship. If it doesn’t come back into stock I will look at getting it from somewhere else. I thought I’d mention it here anyway as I do intend to buy it.

Wearing Hey, Frenchie!

3. MAC Peachlite Strobe Cream – A little while ago I finished up a 30ml tube of Strobe Cream in the original Pinklite shade. I did enjoy using the product as a glowy moisturiser with no makeup on weekends or as a primer before applying foundation. I was curious about a couple of other shades; Silverlite and Peachlite. Silverlite was out of stock so I opted for Peachlite. Peachlite has a peachy pink sheen and is the shade of Strobe Cream that is probably the most universal and will suit all skin tones. I’ve worn Peachlite a couple of times since it arrived and my skin feels extremely soft and moisturised.

4. MAC Fix+ Magic Radiance – I have used the original Fix+ in the past and since MAC launched Fix+ Magic Radiance I have wanted to try it. I suffer with dry skin and this product is supposed to be super hydrating. Magic Radiance is loaded with Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and essential oils. It aims to cool and soothe the skin, set makeup for extended wear and refresh lacklustre complexions. Fix+ is also great for spraying on your brush before applying eyeshadow or highlighter to make it more intense.


Hope you enjoyed seeing everything I’ve picked up recently! Have you treated yourself to anything during lockdown?

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Trying False Lashes For the First Time

In February I purchased two pairs of false lashes from xoBeauty. xoBeauty is New Zealand YouTuber Shaaanxo’s brand and a brand I have purchased quite a bit from over the past couple of years. I have watched Shannon apply lashes numerous times in her videos and recently I was curious to give them a go myself. I’ve read glowing reviews praising how easy the lashes are to apply and how affordable they are for the quality.

Along with the two pairs of lashes I purchased lash glue and special xoBeauty tweezers. The tweezers are nicely weighted and have a non-slip grip. The prongs are shaped in such a way to aid application and really let you get the false lashes to sit flush with your natural lashes and clamp the two sets of lashes together.

xoBeauty have a range of different styles of lashes on their website from natural to long and fluttery as well as faux mink styles for when you want extra drama. xoBeauty’s lashes are cruelty free and are 100% handcrafted with soft, synthetic hairs. Pairs of lashes can be purchased individually or in value packs of five. There are also sets of mixed styles available if you want to try more than one. I purchased two individual sets of lashes; The Heiress and The Innocent.

“The Heiress” lashes are beautifully natural and are a medium length. They give a fluttery effect to your lashes, and have a gorgeous curl to them. Perfect for adding volume and subtle length!

“The Innocent” were designed for the utmost natural girls in mind. These are lightweight, natural, and not too long. They have a criss-cross pattern in order to blend with any natural hairs you already have and this pattern will give the perfect amount of volume! If you already have semi long lashes, these will amp up the volume of your lashes and they look almost undetectable.

Close up of “The Heiress” lashes I applied

Application

I kept my eye makeup simple to balance out the effect The Heiress lashes would give. I applied two coats of mascara prior to the lashes and didn’t go in with another coat afterwards in order to prolong the life of the lashes. I want to be able to reuse this set as much as possible. I held the first lash with the tweezers and checked the size of the lash band against my eyelid to make sure it wasn’t too long and to see if I needed to trim the end. No trimming was required so still holding the lash with the tweezers I applied Duo’s clear, latex-free eyelash glue to the band and let it set for 30-40 seconds. I guided the lash into place and managed to place it correctly on the first go which I was very impressed with! I used the tweezers to adhere the centre of the lash band first before making sure each end was also attached. I then clamped the false lashes and my own lashes together and I was done! From applying the glue to the lash being on it would have only taken 90 seconds. The other lash went on just as easily and I couldn’t believe how little time it took.

How they feel

The outer lashes are curled and beautiful and the lashes do look natural and fluttery. The lashes are incredibly lightweight and it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything. The length is perfect and the lashes don’t touch my glasses which is what I wanted. I can’t see a shadow from the lashes when I’m going about normal activities, they seem like my normal lashes. The glue doesn’t weigh the lashes down and I can’t feel it on my eyelids. The glue doesn’t have an odour which is good and it dries down clear. The Heiress lashes have a clear band so they blend in effortlessly and look pretty much invisible.
Left: Just mascara vs one lash applied
Right: Full face of makeup
 

Other products used:
  • Olay Complete UV Sensitive Lotion
  • Becca First Light Priming Filter
  • Rimmel Professional Brow Pencil in 002 Hazel
  • YSL Touche Éclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation in B10 Porcelain
  • MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW10
  • Milani Eyeshadow Primer
  • Zoella x Colourpop Brunch Date Eyeshadow Palette
  • YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils The Curler Mascara
  • theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
  • Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve
  • MAC Viva Glam III Lipstick

I am extremely happy with my first lash trying experience! I didn’t anticipate it would be such a simple process from start to finish and how light the lashes would feel once they are on. The lashes don’t look dramatic, they add a lovely curled effect and natural length. The quality of these lashes is outstanding and they are super affordable. I will reach for these on special occasions or when I want to feel extra glam. I can definitely see myself checking out other lash styles from xoBeauty in the future too.


Have you tried false lashes before? Do you have a favourite brand or set that you use?

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Collective Haul: Beauty + Entertainment

I still seem to go through phases where I buy nothing at all or place a couple of online orders around the same time. Does anyone else get excited for packages in the mail or is it just me?! I am really excited about the items (a little nervous for one but more on that later) and now that everything has arrived I can talk about them.

1. Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes in 10 Nude Mauve and 20 Lavish Mauve

I saw one of these blushes on sale in a shop for half price and although I’ve heard lots of good things about them I’d never swatched them for myself. The shade on sale wasn’t quite up my street but there were a couple of other shades that were. Before I commit to buying most makeup products I will research them and watch YouTube videos. Nude Mauve is a gorgeous brown-mauve and Lavish Mauve has more prominent pink-mauve tones. Both shades are suitable for my fair skin and apply beautifully on the cheeks. The formula is soft and buildable and the packaging is compact and feels sturdy.

Blush swatches:

Left to right: Nude Mauve and Lavish Mauve

2. xoBeauty “The Innocent” and “The Heiress” False Lashes

This is the purchase I was nervous about! I have never worn false eyelashes in my life and I feel like I will either be terrible at trying to apply them or I will get better with practice. xoBeauty is a brand I have purchased numerous products from and Shannon’s lash line gets a lot of love. I opted for natural looking styles that aren’t too long as I wear glasses. The Innocent are a short criss cross pattern that will add a nice amount of volume. The Heiress lashes aim to give a fluttery, curled effect and are slightly more dramatic. I haven’t tried the lashes yet but I will experiment on one of my days off.

3. Duo False Eyelash Glue (Clear, latex-free)

You can’t apply lashes without glue! On the xoBeauty site there are a few different glue options but I went for this one as it dries clear and is more suitable for sensitive eyes. My eyes aren’t overly sensitive but I liked the sound of this glue the best. The brush on applicator sounds really useful as well.

4. Lash Applicator Tweezer

xoBeauty have special tweezers which Shannon always uses to apply eyelashes and I’ve watched her use these in numerous YouTube videos – she makes it look so easy! The tweezers are nicely weighted, matte black and have a non-slip grip. The shape of the prongs is designed to aid with application and help fuse the false lashes with your natural lashes.

5. Louise – Heavy Love CD

Louise is a British singer-songwriter who found fame as one quarter of 90s R&B/pop group Eternal. Louise left the group in 1995 to pursue a solo career and released her fourth studio album in January 2020. It was a mission to get this CD, I pre-ordered a signed copy from Amazon.co.uk in August 2019 and during the week or two following release I didn’t get any update on my order. Amazon estimated the CD would arrive by February 3 (which it didn’t) and the next day I got an update saying there is an unexpected delay and delivery will now be between mid February and the end of March. I really wanted a signed CD and thought I’ll cancel my Amazon order and get one from Louise’s official store instead, it was more expensive but it was still signed. When I went to order from Louise’s store the signed CDs were sold out but luckily I found a company called Banquet Records who listed signed copies on their website. I tweeted to ask about stock and there were still signed CDs available. I cancelled my Amazon order, placed an order with Banquet Records and the order was dispatched within a few days.

6. Frankie Bridge – Open

In my life a lot of things seem to come back to music and this book is an example of that. Frankie is a singer I have looked up to for half of my life and my admiration for her multiplied when she revealed a struggle with anxiety and depression in 2011/2012. I am quite an anxious person and whilst I have never been diagnosed with a mental illness or been on medication some of the things Frankie says in interviews and this book resonate with me. In a way it’s comforting to know I’m not alone in some of my thoughts. I finished this book within 24 hours and it was great to learn more about Frankie. The book is written in such a kind way, it doesn’t come across as needy (not that I thought it would) and my only con is that it’s not longer.


What was the last thing you treated yourself to?

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Black Friday/Cyber Monday Haul

I’ve never seen these big sales as an excuse to go crazy and buy items for the sake of it but if there is a sale on something I’ve been looking at purchasing or spot a good deal I’m likely to go for it! I have done a few hauls this year but the majority have only contained a handful of items. (I count less than 10 haul posts throughout 2019). I personally enjoy seeing what people pick up and what has either been on their wishlist or they’ve been intrigued to buy in the spur of the moment. Let’s get started!

1. Kylie Minogue Logo Hoodie (Peach)

Jumpers are one of my favourite clothing items, they are super comfortable and make me feel all snug and cosy. Band/artist merchandise is one of my favourite things to wear and I didn’t have any Kylie stuff. This is a simple peach coloured hoodie with Kylie’s logo on the front and back. It will look great with blue jeans and it will be good to pop on between seasons when the weather can’t make up its mind.

Note: This item hadn’t arrived when the photos for this post were taken.

2. The Body Shop Warm Vanilla Body Butter

Vanilla is one of my favourite scents and The Body Shop tend to release a vanilla line as part of their Christmas range. I prefer musky, spicy vanilla scents when it comes to body lotions but this one is quite sweet. I tested a little bit of this body butter when it arrived and I like the scent once it’s had time to sit on the skin for a while. I can’t comment on how moisturising the formula is compared to others I’ve tried as I won’t be using this straight away but it seems to be up to The Body Shop’s usual standard from the small amount I sampled. This is the only item in this haul that wasn’t on sale.

3. xoBeauty Luxe Liquid Lipstick – Impavid

I’m sure you know the story by now, the xoBeauty liquid lipstick formula is my favourite – it is not drying at all and so comfortable on the lips. The liquid lipsticks were 40% off which took them down to roughly $15 (NZD) which is super affordable. Impavid is a deep, rich, cool toned red. I have a few red lipsticks in my collection and I’m currently in the process of evaluating them all by wearing a different shade each day to figure out which ones I most enjoy. As Impavid is new it will be sticking around.

4. xoBeauty Luxe Liquid Lipstick – Ineffable

I also picked up the shade Ineffable which is a neon, hot fuchsia and is the perfect Chanelle colour! Funnily enough I have less bright pink lipsticks than reds yet this is my favourite colour to wear. This kind of shade is my go to when I’m stuck and don’t know what to pick and I know it goes with whatever makeup I pair it with. This shade is a creme finish whereas other bright pinks in my collection are more of a satin/shiny finish and contain tiny sparkles.

Lipstick swatches:

Left to right: Ineffable and Impavid.

5. xoBeauty Round Eye Brush

I have been loving the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush lately for applying transition shades all over the lid and through the crease. The Real Techniques brush has nice dense bristles which really places the shadow where I want it to go and brushes like this work best for my small eyes as I don’t have a lot of lid space. Fluffy brushes are fine if I want a soft, natural look but I do like definition in the crease. I’m hoping due to the shape and look of this brush it will perform in a similar fashion.

6. xoBeauty Angled Eye Brush

I haven’t tried an angled eye brush before but the reviews on this one were really good. The head isn’t overly big so I think this will work well for carving out my crease and applying eyeshadow to the outer half of my eyes. This brush can also be used to apply and blend out concealer underneath the eyes or to apply primer to the eyelids – a good multitasker.


Did you pick up anything in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?

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xoBeauty Haul + Mini Heaps of Sweets Palette Review

xoBeauty was my favourite brand discovery of 2018 and The Remix Palette from Shaaanxo and BH Cosmetics is what I currently enjoy reaching for most. I have tried to keep myself on a low buy in 2019 but there have been certain products I can’t stop thinking about – the Heaps of Sweets palette is one of those!

This is xoBeauty’s first palette and Shannon describes it as “the perfect blend of warm and cool tones, colourful shades and every day neutrals, a one stop shop palette for day and night.” On first glance a few shades look similar to those in The Remix Palette but Shannon describes Heaps of Sweets as The Remix Palette’s cousin and it’s nice the two palettes compliment each other. I can already tell this palette has more of a purple focus and the formula of the shimmers looks a lot more intense than those in The Remix Palette.

Heaps of Sweets is vegan, cruelty free, talc free and comes housed in light purple cardboard packaging adorned with gold foil detailing and cute illustrations of sweet treats. The palette contains a mix of 12 incredibly pigmented, super soft, blendable mattes and shimmers and also features a mirror. I don’t mind if a palette has a mirror or not but it does add to it being travel friendly along with the fact the palette is compact, lightweight and promises versatility.

Shades & Swatches:

Top row:

Gumdrop – A matte medium, warm purple with bright undertones. A fun pop of color for the lower lash line or crease.
Sugar – A pale champagne shimmer with pink undertones. Perfect for highlighting or brightening any look.
Brownie – An essential matte chocolate brown. Use this to darken the outer corners or to create a smokey eye.
Vanilla – A light cool toned neutral matte that leans purple. Perfect for an all-over look or in the crease.

Middle row:

Lollipop – Shannon’s dream purple. A medium/deep purple shimmer with slight cool undertones.
Bonbon – A medium/deep indigo matte purple. Perfect for smoking out any eye look.
Pretzel – Shannon’s dream copper shimmer that makes any eye color pop! Apply all over the lid for a gorgeous look.
Caramel – The perfect all-over matte to make your eyes pop. Apply in the crease and outer corner to deepen your look.

Bottom row:

Macaron – A light warm neutral matte. Perfect for in the crease or all over for a simple look.
Cupcake – The perfect taupe shimmer that goes with any skintone. Gorgeous all over the eye lid for a smokey look.
Apricot – A medium coral shimmer. Gorgeous paired with warm shadows and a bronzed complexion for a summery look!
Hokey Pokey – A bright yellow shimmer with warm undertones. Gorgeous on any skin tone for a golden finish!

In addition to the eyeshadow palette I picked up two lip colours and three makeup brushes.

1. Luxe Liquid Lipstick  – Aroha

I have spoken in the past about my love for this lipstick formula and if like me you don’t like matte liquid lipsticks I can’t recommend it enough! The formula is soft and feather light and dries down to a comfortable cream finish. If colour needs to be reapplied the product layers easily and doesn’t cling to any dry skin. You easily get 4-5 hours wear before reapplication is needed, more if you avoid greasy foods. Aroha is a muted deep plum and is a cross between a berry and a red, it’s got more of a pink tone which I like. This is the fourth liquid lipstick I have purchased from xoBeauty and I think these are even better than their regular bullet lipsticks.

2. Creme Lipstick – Rescue Me

The regular lipsticks come in two finishes; matte and creme. Rescue Me is a creme which I prefer out of the two and is a wearable soft pink. I was looking at my lipstick collection recently and I was missing a pure pink, I have bright pinks, mauve pinks, brown pinks but not a lot in the way of soft pinks. The best thing about this lipstick is that for each sale 50% of the profits go to HUHA which is an animal shelter. HUHA stands for Helping You Help Animals and is a charity close to Shannon’s heart.

Lip colour swatches:

Left to right: Rescue Me and Aroha.

3. Crease Detail Brush

This brush is perfect for precise application of powders, creams or liquids. The brush is tapered to allow for more precision when applying colour and the small size means application can be more concentrated. I have small eyes so I also thought this would be great for packing colour onto the lids rather than a flat eyeshadow brush which is too big to use on my eyelids.

4. Crease Blender Brush

This is a dense, less fluffy version of the next brush which makes it great for applying eyeshadow through the crease and blending it out. This brush can also be used to apply shades in the outer V and on the lower lash line.

5. Blender Brush

This brush is good for adding a soft wash of colour over the eyelid or through the crease. The bristles are longer and fluffier than the Crease Blender Brush which means it will give a more diffused, blown out look. All three brushes are made using synthetic hairs and feel super soft.


Share one of your favourite makeup brands in the comments below! Also, let me know if you like the look of anything in this haul and if you’d be interested to see me create a couple of looks with the eyshadow palette!

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My Favourite Makeup Brushes

When it comes to makeup brushes there are so many out there it can be overwhelming looking at all the brands trying to decide which brushes are right for you and trying to find what you want. I have around 30 makeup brushes which isn’t many in the grand scheme of things but I do notice myself reaching for certain brushes more frequently because I like the way they perform. I have selected the best brushes I own to talk about in this post.

Note: Many brands do similar styles to the brushes mentioned here and at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and what you want to use the brush for as to whether or not it works for you.

Real Techniques

Real Techniques are known for their quality and affordable prices. Their brushes are made with synthetic taklon bristles which are super soft and wash up well. Real Techniques is fronted by beauty gurus Sam and Nic Chapman who also run a YouTube channel and share loads of makeup tips. The brand has themed brush collections but the original core collection can be broken down into categories based on what they are intended for and the colour of their handle:

  • Orange – base brushes
  • Pink – finishing brushes
  • Purple – eye brushes

I have never experienced any shedding from Real Techniques brushes and these are among the oldest brushes in my collection but still perform exceptionally well.

1. Expert Face Brush

I prefer to apply foundation with a brush and I like this brush in particular because it isn’t too big for my face and it doesn’t leave streaks. I have a small face and the size of this brush is perfect for spreading product, buffing it in and being able to get in around the nose and under the eyes. The bristles are quite dense but the brush works with all liquid foundation consistencies and layers product up nicely if I’m after fuller coverage.

2. Blush Brush

I very rarely use this for blush but the big, fluffy bristles mean this brush is a great multi-tasker. I love using this for powder as it’s soft enough to sweep powder over the face and I use this brush almost every time I apply bronzer. The tapered bristles help to concentrate application and keep product to certain areas of the face.

3. Shading Brush

Not only do I have a small face but I also have small eyes. This shading brush allows me to do a complete eye look with just one brush, it’s dense enough to apply base shadows, small enough to blend through the crease and also picks up good pigmentation from sparkly and shimmery shadows. I have considered picking up another one of these at some point because of how versatile it is.

4. Setting Brush

This is like a mini version of the blush brush and again this is a great multi-tasker. I like to use this brush to apply my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder or to focus blush on top of my cheekbones. This smaller sized brush is perfect for more pigmented blushes to ensure product doesn’t go everywhere. This brush is commonly used for blending and buffing concealer into the skin and setting concealer with powder underneath the eyes.

xoBeauty

xoBeauty is the makeup brand and brush line from New Zealand YouTuber Shannon Harris. Shannon’s brushes are manufactured in Italy and like the Real Techniques brushes are made from synthetic fibres. I will say with some of my xoBeauty brushes the bristles stain but this doesn’t have any affect on the overall performance.

1. Tulip Crease Brush

When people refer to a fluffy blending brush this is what they mean. This brush packs on pigmentation and blends everything out in the crease beautifully to create a seamless eye look. I also like to use this brush if I am going for a super simple eye look to apply bronzer all over the lids and buff it in quickly.

2. Firm Blender Brush

This is another brush I like to use for my crease shades, particularly to blend the base shade and crease shade together in the socket. This is thinner than the Tulip Crease Brush and is even more precise. The flat shape of this brush allows you to blend eyeshadows on the lids together too.

3. Shimmer Tulip Brush

This reminds me of the blush brush from Real Techniques as it is another multi-tasker. Recently I have loved reaching for it to apply one of my single powder blushes and sweeping the colour over my cheeks. The brush is big and fluffy and disperses the product nicely, providing a lovely flush of colour. This brush is also beautiful to apply subtle highlighters all over the cheeks.

4. Detail Face Brush

For more concentrated highlight application this brush is perfect. The bristles are a cross between fluffy and dense and allow me to really buff highlighter into the skin. The brush moves over the skin so easily, little effort is required to blend as the brush really does do all the work. This is a relatively new brush from xoBeauty and is one of Shannon’s personal favourites.

Zoeva

As far as quality and price go Zoeva brushes are on par with the other brands mentioned here. I hadn’t tried any Zoeva makeup brushes until earlier in 2019 and I am super impressed. Each brush either comes individually boxed or in a clear plastic pouch depending on whether you purchase brushes from the rose gold line or the original black and silver line.

1. 102 Silk Finish Brush

The brush lives up to it’s name! My skin and foundation look lovely when I use it and in terms of size and performance it’s comparable to the Expert Face Brush by Real Techniques which is probably why I like it so much. The bristles on this brush aren’t as dense as the Expert Face Brush but they are longer which I think gives the silk finish effect. Both brushes are made with Taklon bristles.

2. 231 Luxe Petit Crease Brush

Zoeva are very clever for making two sizes of eye brushes and catering to those of us with smaller eyes. This brush is similar to the Tulip Crease Brush by xoBeauty but this brush is even more precise when colour is applied and the brush head is smaller. The bristles aren’t scratchy and don’t stain as much as the xoBeauty eye brushes. The full sized 228 Luxe Crease Brush by Zoeva is one of the brand’s most popular eye brushes and I can see why.

3. 110 Face Shape Brush

This brush could be used for many things, applying and blending foundation/concealer, applying cream blush to the cheeks and what I tend to use it for, contouring. The shape of the brush fits perfectly into the hollows of the cheeks and blends contour powder like a dream! The bristles are dense so only a small amount of contour is needed. This is one of Lisa Eldridge’s favourite face brushes.


What are your favourite makeup brushes? Have you tried any of these?

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Autumn Makeup Look

Browns and neutrals are go to colours for my eye makeup most days but I appreciate them even more in autumn! Since I started this blog nearly five years ago my makeup skills and knowledge have improved so much. I definitely have preferred methods and know what I like makeup wise but for this eye look I strayed a little from my norm and I am so happy with how it came out – I can’t wait to recreate it again!

When I create the majority of these makeup looks for the blog I know how I want them to come out and the kind of tones I want to use. I actually created a couple of different eye looks I thought would turn out to be autumnal before settling on this as a clear winner. The others either had too much bronze or not enough depth of colour in the crease.

Products listed in order of application:

I thought I would stray away from doing a big list of the products I used to create this look like I normally do as most of the time my base products are the same.

My current go to day moisturiser is Olay’s Complete UV Sensitive Lotion. I let my moisturiser sit for about 10-15 minutes and then I go in with primer, at the moment I’m using Max Factor’s Smooth Miracle Primer. I then fill in my brows with Rimmel’s Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel. I’m very much enjoying using Max Factor’s Lasting Performance Foundation day to day instead of just for special occasions. It is my favourite type of coverage and formula wise it holds up well throughout the day. I apply one layer all over my face and additional product to areas I get redness – around my nose and chin. MAC’s StudioFinish Concealer comes next before applying Urban Decay’s Primer Potion to my eyelids. While I let the eyeshadow primer sit I go in with contour and bronzer. Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder in Light is perfect for my skin tone and The Body Shop Honey Bronzer gets dusted over my cheekbones, chin, around my nose and on the temples. Sometimes I also apply highlighter before doing my eye makeup and on this occasion I did and used Soft & Gentle from MAC.

The ‘original’ side of The Remix Palette.

After my face is prepped and done I move onto eyes. I pulled out The Remix Palette from Shaaanxo and all the shades I used are from the ‘original’ side of the palette which contains a mixture of nine neutral shimmers and mattes. First I applied Buttercup (warm matte custard yellow) all over the lid. I used a combination of Terracotta (warm matte brown) and Silhouette (charcoal matte) in the crease. Terracotta is a lovely shade to add depth and with Silhouette I focused it more on the outer V and outer third of my eyelids. I wanted a dark smoky element and this shade gave it. To finish the look I patted Avocado (blue-brown duochrome) onto the lid with my ring finger and applied a few light layers to build up the colour and duochrome effect.

I applied two coats of Tanya Burr’s Selfie Lash Mascara. MAC’s Velvet Teddy was my lipstick of choice and I finished off by spritzing The Body Shop’s Strawberry Smoothing Face Mist to set everything in place.

The Finished Look:

What products do you associate with autumn? What do you think of this look?

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Ride Or Die Makeup Tag

If you only had one of each makeup item to use, what would you pick? I can’t imagine how hard this tag would be if I had drawers of makeup and had to narrow down my favourite products. I am basing this post on the categories Jaclyn Hill mentions in her Ride Or Die YouTube video and adding in/taking out options where appropriate. This is the holiest of holy grails!

Primer
Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer

This primer is nourishing and hydrating and makes the products on top look and apply better. I have the sample 20ml size and it has lasted me four or so months now. I definitely see myself repurchasing this in the future. This does have a coconut scent and whilst I’m not a coconut fan, the scent fades quickly after application so I’m happy.

Foundation
Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation in 100 Fair

Max Factor bases really impress me, they look nice on the skin, they cater for my skin tone and they have good coverage. I previously used this foundation in 101 Ivory Beige but Fair is a better match. This has an almost satin finish, not completely dewy or matte which I like. Despite having dry skin I don’t like overly glowy makeup.

Concealer
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer  – 1 Fair

The coverage and consistency of this concealer is really nice. Dry skinned gals will most likely be fans of this as it’s creamy and doesn’t cling and always makes my base look more flawless. I will continue to repurchase.

Face Powder
Rimmel Match Perfection Translucent Powder

I don’t use setting powder everyday but I do tend to reach for it in summer. To be fair this is the only face powder I’ve ever tried but I do like it and it’s not too powdery that it accentuates lines or dry skin. The tiniest bit goes a long way.

Blush
NARS Orgasm

The peachy-pink tone flatters so many people and is almost like a universal shade. While I don’t wear blush everyday this is the one I would be sad to be without.

Bronzer
The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in 01 Light Matte

This is kind of cheating as it’s the only bronzer I’ve properly tried and stuck with but when a product is this good you’re not going to stray. The Body Shop bronzer comes in a few shades and caters for different skin tones. This bronzer never looks harsh or orange or muddy, you might not think it’s there but it’s a product I wouldn’t skip applying in my everyday makeup routine now.

Highlight
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle

This is one of those cult beauty products and for good reason, it is gorgeous! This is quite a neutral tone but the product can be built up if desired. This is the most versatile of my highlighters and gives the cheeks a lovely glow.

Mascara
Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex 003 Extreme Black

I have used up a few tubes of this mascara now and whenever I try something different this is always what I compare other mascaras against. This gives length and volume and the Extreme Black shade does what it says on the tin but sadly this shade has been discontinued. I have tried the regular Black version and it is nowhere near as good.

Lipstick
BYS Fuchsia Surprise

Just about everyone who knows me knows bright pink lipstick is my favourite! There’s something about hot pink/fuchsia that I love and whenever I’m in doubt about what colour to wear I always go back to it. I have a few different fuchsia shades in my collection but I picked this one as I finished a one of these completely and the pigmentation and formula for the price point is amazing!

Liquid Lipstick
Frambourjoise by Bourjois

My favourite red! Frambourjoise is a raspberry red with a hint of pink and the formula is to die for – it’s unbelievably comfortable and long wearing – I recently wore this shade for 14 hours. I reapplied during that time but the first layer didn’t flake or get crusty under the second and make reapplication difficult.

Lipgloss
Afternoon Tea by Tanya Burr

Not only does this lipgloss have the cutest name but it is the most beautiful natural light pink colour. Often I wear this if I don’t know what else to wear and want something easy. I love this gloss with a gold eyeshadow and Becca’s Opal highlighter for a glowing, radiant look.

Eyeshadow Palette
Shaaanxo The Remix Palette

This palette really has it all and was one of my favourite beauty discoveries of 2018! There’s a mix of colourful shades and neutrals as well as shimmers and mattes. The formula applies and blends like a dream and this is what I tend to reach for almost each time I do my makeup.

Single Eyeshadow
MAC Tan Pigment

When I’m not using my Shaaanxo palette I like to go for a simple look that doesn’t require too much fuss. Tan is neutral enough that it could be worn everyday but it still has that sparkle and glitz I love.

Setting Spray
MAC Prep + Prime Fix+

I haven’t had this setting spray for long but I am so happy I picked it up. The setting spray has a nice scent and feels very refreshing on the skin. The spray nozzle doesn’t spray too much product at once and two or three sprays is enough. Some sprays and face mists feel very wet and spray a lot of product but this doesn’t.

Perfume
Viva la Juicy by Juicy Couture

I can’t remember how I first heard about this scent but I would always spray it on myself in shops when I was a teenager and it’s a scent I still love and don’t tire of. I have finished up a 100ml bottle in the past and I repurchased another one. I tend to save this perfume for special occasions and this scent reminds me of the latter half of 2016 which was a really happy time for me. This perfume lasts all day, I can still smell it on my clothes and skin the next day and it’s sweet and feminine.

The products in action

Left side:

Too Faced Hangover Primer, Max Factor Lasting Performance, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, The Body Shop Honey Bronzer, MAC Tan, Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex Mascara, MAC Soft & Gentle, Max Fix+, Bourjois Frambourjoise.

Right side:

Too Faced Hangover Primer, Max Factor Lasting Performance, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, Rimmel Match Perfection Translucent Powder, The Body Shop Honey Bronzer, Shaaanxo The Remix Palette, Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex Mascara, NARS Orgasm, MAC Soft & Gentle, BYS Fuchsia Surprise.


Share your holy grail products in the comments!

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