Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Barbie Loves Stila smudge pot in Little Black Dress

I've been eyeing off the Stila smudge pots for ages, but was always turned off by the price, as we often are for certain cosmetic brands here in Australia. In particular, the Barbie Loves Stila special edition smudge pots caught my eye because they're such bright and bold colours. The smudge pots retail for $42 at Mecca Cosmetica (ouch), while they're US$20 overseas. You can see why I was hesitant to part with that sort of cash!

I nabbed a regular smudge pot in purple on an overseas trip a few years ago and I think I paid something like US$16 for it at the time. Looking at the Stila web site, it appears they no longer have a purple one, apart from the Barbie Loves Stila smudge pot in Purple Pumps. The one I got was much darker than that, however.

I really like the texture of the smudge pots. It's essentially a gel eyeliner and shadow, depending on how you apply it. I did find that once I applied it, I had to work fairly quickly to smudge it, if that was the look I was going for, otherwise it would set and it became much harder to work with. On that front, it's fantastic for not smudging (no pun intended) once it's set.

A couple of months ago, I was looking for a dark eye base to make some of my lighter mineral eyeshadows stand out more. I was thinking about getting a MAC Shadestick or something like that and I'd completely forgotten about the old smudge pot. I was suddenly reminded when watching a video on YouTube from one of my favourite makeup gurus, hollyofmirkwood2. She'd done a haul video and raved about the Barbie Loves Stila smudge pot in Little Black Dress - a black with tons of magenta glitter.

Being a total sucker for glitter, I did some online research and saw how totally awesome it looked on other people. I caved. I ended up turning to eBay and got it for $20 including postage. That's less than half the retail price! I use the excuse that it's really inconvenient for me to get myself down to Mecca on lunch breaks because it's nowhere near my work.

So having used it for a while, I'm glad I got it. As an eyeliner, it's just gorgeous because the black isn't too inky and the magenta sparkles really give it that something extra. I find that it sets even faster than the old smudge pot, however, which is something I'm not too keen on. For those in a hurry to do their makeup, this could be a good thing. I still prefer to apply the liner all along my lashline and then go back and blend or smudge it out. I ended up having to do a little bit at a time, smudging as I go. I've gotten faster at applying it now, so this isn't a big issue.

I've also worn it all over my eyelid as a dark base. Wow! It completely transformed the colour of the pale mauve eyeshadow I wore over the top, with the glitter again another dimension. It was so smooth and soft to apply. Sweeping loose eyeshadow over it once it had set was no problem and I didn't find it lumpy or uneven. Blending eyeshadow over the top was possible, but took a little work. The gel formula really is fantastic. I still see myself needing a plain black base, though, because as much as it pains me to admit it, pink glitter isn't a look for every day. With a fairly subtle eyeshadow and worn just as an eyeliner, it looks amazing.

The only real problem with it is when it comes time to remove it. My trusty eye makeup remover will get off all my eye makeup in flash, smudge pot included, although even when I wash my face after that, I find pink sparkles all along my lashline. The rest of it comes off fine, but the glitter still remains. I don't like scrubbing my eyes too much (I have precious few eyelashes as it is), so I've often just left it. I've even had some glitter remaining the next morning, also after washing my face. The glitter is so fine that it doesn't get into my eyes or irritate them, which is great because I wear contact lenses every day.

At the end of the day, I love the effect of this smudge pot and am happy to live with a little residual glitter at the end of the day. Maybe I'll even get the plain black smudge pot since the Barbie Loves Stila smudge pot in Little Black Dress is so good. I wonder if I have any of my purple one left?




I love how Barbie winks at you. Very cute packaging.



Check out all those sparkles!



Left: with flash. Right: no flash.
Trust me, it's really black, but isn't showing up well in the photos.

Review: Moroccan Oil Treatment

So today I went to the hairdresser for a trim. It's been four months since my last haircut (I know!) and in that time, I'd been using the Moroccan Oil Treatment (www.moroccanoil.com). I bought the small 25mL bottle ($25-$30, depending on where you buy it) just to give it a try.


Picture taken from the Moroccan Oil web site.

Once of the things my hairdresser said after trimming my hair and adding layers is how easy it was to cut. He said it was really knot-free and so easy for him to work with. It must be the Moroccan Oil! It's been a couple of weeks since I last used it because I'd finished the bottle, which lasted around three months. I only wash my hair three times a week, two if I'm really lazy (thank heavens for dry shampoo), so those who wash their hair more frequently will obviously run out a little sooner.

Of course, I was very sceptical at first. Did I really want to put oil on my long curly hair? Wouldn't that turn it into a skanky oil slick? So I read about it online and it was meant to be really light and absorbed instantly, so I thought I'd give it a go in the end.

One of the things it's meant to do is reduce drying time. I never blowdry my hair because I look like a witch when I do: it's frizz city. That means I can't comment on that aspect of it. As for its absorption, it's amazing. You only need the tiniest bit - I use about a 10c coin's worth and my hair is almost down to my waist. It really goes well through the hair and it immediately feels as though there's nothing in it. It absorbs that quickly.

I often don't put anything else in my hair (no styling products or anything like that) and I let it dry naturally. My hair felt super soft when it was dry and the smell of the Moroccan Oil is delicious. I wouldn't say I had no frizz when using it alone, but there wasn't nearly as much frizz compared to when I wasn't using it. My hair is already quite healthy and shiny because I hardly ever colour it, but it felt so much silkier when using the oil. My beloved Terax Life Drops made my hair soft, but not to the extent of the Moroccan Oil. I also went through the Life Drops a lot faster because I had to use more to get it all through my hair.

Anyway, after the snipping, my hairdresser reached for the Moroccan Oil before the blowdrying my hair! I asked him whether he thought it was worth all the hype and he said it was. He tried it before he decided to stock it in his salon and based on that, he uses it all the time now. Needless to say, I ended up getting another (100mL) bootle for $50. I'll probably have it for the next six months, which definitely makes it worth the cost of entry.

My only (minor) problem with it is that it's simply a glass bottle with a screw-on lid. That means you need to be careful to avoid pouring out copious amounts of the stuff or accidentally knocking over the bottle. A pump would have made it perfect. When I got towards the bottom of the bottle, I found I had to store it upside down. However, since it's an oil, you'll have better luck getting the dregs out and using everything in the bottle than you would with a cream product.

There's an Intense Curl Cream that I'd consider trying in the future, but I have to work my way through my collection of hair products before then. The company also has a range of other haircare products, including shampoo, conditioner and a mask, but you'll likely need to look for these online. My hairdresser has the oil, but doesn't stock the rest of the range. If your salon does have all the products, ask them to use it on your hair the next time you go there to try it out.

OK, I know what I said about self-portraits, but it's not every day that my hair is straightened. This was taken after I got back from the hairdresser today.

All in all, I happily give the Moroccan Oil Treatment the thumbs up.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pure Luxe haul

I recently bought a large number of sample eyshadows for US$1 each from Pure Luxe (http://pureluxecosmetics.com/home.html). The company sells a number of products, although I just grabbed a bunch of eyeshadow samples.

Navigating the site can be a little bit of a challenge, but what makes it easier is the fact that the eyeshadows are grouped by colour. The colour descriptions were all pretty much on the money, although of course, the pictures only show the eyeshadow in the pot, not what it actually looks like on the skin.

I ended up getting at least one from each of the colour collections on the 'Eye Colors' and 'Eye Colors 2' pages, and only one from 'Eye Colors 3'. I also got a couple from the Fall collection and the 'Specialty eye colors', but nothing from Winter.

It took a few weeks for my parcel to arrive and I was able to track it using the tracking number emailed to me once it shipped. Postage was US$6, which is pretty decent. I ordered during the Memorial Day weekend, so there was a 20% off sale at the time. I paid the regular amount for everything and then applied the discount code to my PayPal cart. I was then refunded the 20% once my order was processed. I have no problem with receiving my discount this way, although I can totally understand those who do.

The samples all came in little pots, which I much prefer to sample baggies. It's so much easier to get to the eyeshadow and means there's much less product going to waste. On the other hand, they do take up more storage space. I'd rather get everything I'm paying for, regardless. There was a generous sample in every jar - some looked as though they were almost full!

I must say, the colours are just gorgeous. I had a sparkling rainbow on my desk when I opened my package. A lot of the colours I chose had some complexity to them; for example, once you start working them in, different coloured undertones appear. Some colours looked completely different in the jar compared to when they're applied on the skin, but these are accurately described in the web site.

Take Prismatic, for example. It's described as "medium teal green in jar. Color changes from lilac-red/silver/green-blue". As you can see in the photos below, it looks teal in the jar and is a lovely lilac on my eyelids. It appeared more silvery in the brighter light and more purple in the bathroom light (the more yellow-looking light). Since I don't walk around constantly staring at myself in a mirror, I can't tell you what light makes it appear teal.







I've used a number of the eyeshadows over Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy (I got 26 samples so I haven't had the chance to give them all a go) and I really love how they go on. The powder is really fine and feels really silky when applied. However, my favourites so far are from the Kaleidoscope collection ('Specialty eye colors'). I've used Oasis and Mirage, and I tried Prismatic today for the first time. These totally appear to change colour, depending on the light. They're so pretty!

Anyway, on to the swatches. This is my first attempt at swatching, both with and without a flash, and all colours are on top of Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy.




(First photo without flash, other three with flash)
Line 1: Mirage, Carnal, Blue Jeans, Amethyst
Line 2: Avenging angel, Prismatic, PL Asp, Uptown, Molten (this one was actually US$2)
Line 3: Heather mist, Lilac ice, Moon glow, Galaxy



(First two photos without flash, last pic with flash)
Line 1: Love spell, Ambition, Vanilla, Hypnotic
Line 2: Regal, Green aura, Fantasy, OMG, Mermaid
Line 3: Tiger's eye, Oasis, BL Asp, Ghost Mist

I was really pleased with my samples and I wouldn't hesitate to buy some more. In fact, I'll probably do that really soon because at the moment, Pure Luxe is having a 4th of July sale! Although really, when samples are only US$1 each, does it matter whether there's a sale on?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Review: Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy

Hi everybody. My first review is going to be a total rave! It's the Pixie Epoxy from Fyrinnae (www.fyrinnae.com).

This amazing product provides a base for mineral and other loose eyeshadows - it's not a primer and Fyrinnae recommends using a primer underneath it (I use Urban Decay's original Primer Potion). It gives shimmery eyeshadows a foiled look without the effort of foiling. Foiling can be fiddly and time-consuming (at least when I attempt it!) so this was a godsend for me.


I ordered it online with a bunch of eyeshadow minis/samples (that's another review in itself). The Pixie Epoxy was only US$7 and the shipping ended up being free because I'd ordered more than US$20 worth of items. That's right, shipping to the arse end of the world is free for orders over US$20; for orders less than US$20 (I admire your restraint), shipping is a maximum of US$3.50.

So, to look at it, it's a bit meh: there's not a lot going on. It's a fairly nondescript tube and once you open it, you'll find a wand with a doe foot applicator. This makes it a snap to apply. You seriously need to apply the tiniest little bit to your eyelid and then spread it around gently with your finger. You then need to let it dry for a few seconds until it's tacky.

There is a bit of a trick to using the epoxy, so check out the excellent tips at Fyrinnae's blog here. After it's dried a little, simply brush on your eyeshadow and watch all the pretty colours come out to play! I have a number of mineral eyeshadows that are one main colour with flecks of different coloured sparkles. This made all those other colours stand out and sparkle even more.

I found I had significantly less fallout using the epoxy compared to primer alone and it didn't budge all day. No creasing whatsoever! The vibrancy of the colour didn't fade after a day of wear, not even after two hours of sweaty exercise at the end of the day. I wish I could say the same for the other makeup under my eyes, but damn, my eyshadow still looked amazing.

Really, what I'm trying to say is this: you must own this product. If you have loose eyeshadows that you want to appear more vibrant, if you're a foiling novice or if you just want a good sparkle, then buy it now. For less than AUD$10, can you really go wrong? I challenge anyone to use Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy and not fall in love. I can guarantee that I will be placing another order soon so I never run out: it's that bloody amazing.

First blog post

Hi everybody! Well, this is my first blog post. I guess I just wanted to say hi and introduce my blog.

Typically, I'll be talking a lot about makeup. I order a lot of my pretty things online, since certain brands are painfully expensive to buy in retail stores in Australia (I'm talking about you, MAC). I'll also discuss the colour combinations I'm wearing and (very) occasionally post a picture if it's not too scary. I'm not a big fan of looking at photos of myself, so I figure why would anyone else want to? Anyway, we'll see how that goes.

I also love nail polish, so I'll sometimes talk about the different colours I'm wearing. Mind you, I'm no expert and the mess I make is often quite comical. If I post a picture, it'll most certainly be once I've done a major cleanup.

I hope you have fun reading this. At the very least, if I can steer you away from something dodgy, or recommend something totally awesome, I'm a happy camper.

Olga.