Beauty Samples I’ve Tried and Liked

I’ve talked quite a lot about beauty products I love, but today, I wanted to try something a little different.. I wanted to give a little love to the samples that I’ve tried, and liked – but just haven’t had the budget to buy the full size yet!

I like to mix up my routine, and even with sensitive skin, I’m always up for trying out something new, whether it’s a foundation, a cleanser, or a blacker than black liquid eyeliner. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest beauty launches, so I find that this is the best way to get a little taste of what I should expect, and figure out if the investment is going to be worth it – cos lets be real, makeup, and skincare in particular, can cost a girl a pretty penny or two.

So let’s jump straight into the samples that really nailed it for me…

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser ($45 USD) – I tend to have oily/dry skin depending on the weather (my T-zone is definitely a problem area for me), and what I loved about this cleanser was that it made my skin feel really clean but didn’t strip it of moisture. It has a really earthy scent which honestly, wasn’t my favourite, but I didn’t have any breakouts while using this and overall I just really like the way this made my skin feel.

La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP ($19.99 USD) – I’m not going to lie, I am terrible at remembering to moisturize (it happens once in a blue moon), but I feel like I would if I had a tub of this body balm lying around. It has a beautiful soft scent, and sinks in right away, leaving a luxurious and velvety feel to the skin. It is super moisturizing so I feel like it is one of those products that would be perfect for winter.. which makes me think that I probably should look at picking this up in a full size pretty soon.

Kate Somerville 360 Tanning Towelettes ($48 USD for a pack of 8) – The last time I properly used any kind of tanning products I was probably in my teens, but for a lark, I thought I would give this a go and you know what, I was pleasantly surprised. First off, it’s incredibly easy to use, you basically just rub the towelette over the areas where you’d like a bit of glow; for me, that was my legs! Secondly, I loved the colour, I got a gorgeous golden bronze tan which looked very natural, and lasted for more than three days. I will admit I was a little nervous about the product rubbing off on my bedsheets at night but I didn’t have that problem at all. It has me thinking that maybe I really should seriously start considering using a fake tan on the regular, given I’m less excited about sun bathing now than I was in my early twenties (and who doesn’t want that golden glow?).

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint ($40 USD) – In the last twelve months, I’ve heard a lot about Jouer. From their blushes and eyeshadow sticks to their recently launched liquid lipsticks, it seems to be a beauty brand that is having a bit of a moment. I tried out their matte tinted moisturizer last year and really loved it, enough to still be thinking about it all those months later. It has a matte finish – as you’d expect, but in a glowy way – and a mousse-like texture on application which bonds out really nicely, and it has medium coverage. Sydney tends to get so humid in the summertime but this is just one of those bases that I think would really work well for me during those warmer months.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer ($36 USD) – Even though I recently picked this up, I just had to keep this primer on the list. Its silky consistency that just melts into the skin was what truly won me over. It’s silicone based so has a slippy feel to it (which I love) and it has a beautiful finish that really reduced the size of my pores. Given that I couldn’t resist buying this i full size, I’d say that this one is a winner.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($52 USD) – I’ve got to admit, primers have never really been much of a beauty necessity for me. It took me a while to see the point, though lately I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect one come our wedding day (I’ll be doing my own makeup, so let’s pray I don’t slip my hand while doing winged eyeliner!). In comparison to the Smashbox primer, I think I prefer this one, if only just. Before application, it looks like a cream on your fingertips, but it has a slippy silicone feel to it when applied. This works into the skin really beautifully and gives a lovely semi-perfected look to your face. I love the fact that it is oil free AND that it has SPF. This one is on my shopping wishlist for sure (though I might be saving for a while…).

Chantecaille Faux Clis Mascara ($52 USD) – While the thought of paying upwards of $60 for a mascara stresses me out, I have absolutely adored using the Faux Clis Mascara from Chantecaille. I was lucky to get this in a beauty box from Mecca, and it’s one of the few non-waterproof mascaras that doesn’t smudge on my brow bone. The wand has a natural bristle brush, and the formula itself is very separating and lengthening, oh, and it is very black. If money grew on trees I think I’d use this and only this.

Byredo Eau de Parfum in Gypsy Water ($150 USD) – This was one of those products that I had seen e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e to the point that even the thought of purchasing this perfume seemed a little cliche at best. Perhaps marring the whole experience was that I’d tested this out on one of those little test strips at Mecca and just couldn’t quite understand the hype. BUT, I’ll admit that I’ve really been won over by this perfume; spending a few days wearing it (well, I was sold after the first hour) was enough for me to know that I need this on my vanity. I’ve been rationing the use of the small spray bottle I have until I can save my pennies for a full size, as it’s just such a perfect mix of fresh and floral fragrances.

So, there you have it. High end makeup (and skincare!) can so easily be hit or miss, though I’ve found my fair share of gems by being militant about using up my samples, and getting a taste for what is out there, beyond my own vanity. Given that make up and skincare can be a bit of an investment, are there any higher end products that you’ve tried and fallen head over heels for?

New in beauty

lorac pro contour palette clinique cheek pop review
lorac pro contour palette clinique cheek pop review

I recently picked up a few bits and pieces from Everlane and The Real Real , and figured it was as good a time as any to nab a few beauty products that I’d had sitting on my wishlist.

First up was the Lorac Pro Contour Palette; while I don’t contour quite as much as I used to (I tend to go pretty minimal on the base these days), I thought that this would be a great product to have in my vanity. I’ve been using it the last couple of weeks and I’ve been really impressed with the quality. Highly pigmented – trust me when I saw a little goes a long way – incredibly smooth, and so versatile.

Then, I decided to stock up on a couple more of the Clinique Cheek Pop blushes. I tend to reach for the shade Pink Pop most days; I love the formulation of these, they are slightly sheer but build up quickly for a nice flush of colour on the cheeks making them great for beginners. I picked up two new shades, Ginger Pop (a red toned coral) and Peach Pop (a true peach) which are both beautiful and I think will be perfect particularly during the warmer months of the year.

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to keep my base very minimal. Most days I’ll leave the house without applying any foundation or tinted moisturiser – my face tends to get pretty pale in the cooler months and I’ve been trying to embrace it, while avoiding clogging my pores. But one thing I have been keen to pick up is the pore minimising photo finish primer from Smashbox. I tried out a sample of this earlier in the year and absolutely loved it. It has a slippy silicone texture to it, which for my oilier skin type is ideal. I’m really looking forward to wearing this on days where I do opt for a full face of make up – it’s definitely a product that feels very comfortable on the skin.

Lastly, I picked up a new lip pencil from MAC. I’m a huge fan of MAC’s pro longwear lip pencils; it’s one of the more comfortable and creamy formulas that I’ve tried, and I find that they help to prolong the wear time of any lipstick I’ve swiped over the top (as you’d hope!). Practicality for my make up has been first and foremost as of late, so I opted for the shade Nice’n’Spicy. This is a gorgeous brown toned nude with a hint of pink – great for everyday and also a good option if you’re planning to overdraw your lips a little bit.

Next on my wishlist has to be Charlotte Olympia’s makeup collaboration with MAC, although I’m still at odds over how many red lipsticks is too many…

My MAC lipstick collection

mac lipstick collection swatches
mac lipstick collection swatches
From l to r: Viva Glam (L), Shanghai Spice (C), Runway Hit (RM), Velvet Teddy (M), Cosmo (A), Twig (S), Craving (A), Positively Dashing (PLL), Dozen Carnations (C)

I’ve become quite the makeup junkie as of late, and while I try to whittle down my wardrobe – as much as humanly possible! – my makeup collection just seems to keep growing; apparently my love of lipsticks knows no bounds.

I think we can all agree, my love affair with anything beauty-related has been short and sweet so far, but my foray into the real world of makeup began years ago when I picked up my first lipstick ever, from MAC (a Viva Glam nude, if you were wondering). While it’s no longer a lipstick that I reach for, I’ve definitely fallen down the MAC rabbit hole and picked up more than my fair share in the last couple of years.

It’s a pretty tightly edited collection – for now – of nude, mauve, and berry tones; the perfect year-round lipstick wardrobe if you ask me. Ultimately, it’s the quality and the shade selection that keeps me coming back, and while I have plans to add a few more shades to my collection (the entire Charlotte Olympia collaboration included), I thought I’d give you a quick peek into which MAC lipsticks are currently sitting pride of place on my vanity.

mac lipstick collection swatches Viva Glam Shanghai Spice Runway Hit Velvet Teddy Cosmo Twig Craving Positively Dashing Dozen Carnations
From l to r: Viva Glam (L), Shanghai Spice (C), Runway Hit (RM), Velvet Teddy (M), Cosmo (A), Twig (S), Craving (A), Positively Dashing (PLL), Dozen Carnations (C)

Starting from lightest to darkest….

VIVA GLAM | Lustre
Viva Glam is one of the first makeup products I ever purchased, and for that reason alone I just can’t bear to part with it. I’d best describe it as a ‘no-lipstick’ lipstick; it’s very subtle, adds a slight shimmery sheen to the lips, and can be applied without a mirror (the best kind of lipstick if you ask me…!).

SHANGHAI SPICE | Cremesheen
My first cremesheen purchase and one of my absolute favourite shades. It’s a pretty peach colour with tiny gold flecks that don’t seem to translate on the lips. Incredibly easy to wear and a moisturizing formula that is a dream to wear on the lips.

RUNWAY HIT | Retro Matte
While I’m not afraid to admit that the retro matte formulas are my least favourite (they come off chalky on me and are difficult to apply), I l-o-v-e the shade of this. It’s a subtle peach toned pink; I like it best applied over a thin layer of the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm for a creamy finish.

VELVET TEDDY | Matte
Perfect if you’re after a brown-toned nude matte lipstick; although admittedly I was completely drawn in by the hype surrounding this shade. MAC’s matte formula is pretty comfortable on the lips, and has a creamy texture which dries down over time.

COSMO | Amplified
Of all the reviews I’ve read online, Cosmo is pretty much always referred to as a my-lips-but-better shade, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s slightly brown toned, with a pink base, making it a perfect go-to every day shade. Not to mention the fact that the amplified formula is beautifully creamy and rich, and opaque when applied.

TWIG | Satin
Twig is definitely a firm favourite for me, and sits dangerously close in shade to Cosmo, albeit leans a little more mauve on me. If you’re yet to try one of the lipsticks with a satin finish, it applies creamy and dries down to matte, and has pretty good lasting power too.

CRAVING | Amplified
I picked up Craving in October last year, and having been waiting for it to cool down so I can start wearing this one. It’s a plummy toned pink which looks absolutely gorgeous on, fitting nicely at the lower spectrum of the berry family.

POSITIVELY DASHING | Pro Longwear Lipcreme
A muted raspberry pink with cool undertones, this is a winter staple for me. While I find that the pro longwear lipcreme formula doesn’t have the best lasting power if you’re drinking tea all day like I tend to do, it does stain the lips and makes re-applying throughout the day really easy.

DOZEN CARNATIONS | Cremesheen
The latest addition to my collection, and one of my current go-tos, this to me is the perfect Spring/Summer shade. It’s a punchy orange-toned red, with a gold shimmer running through it, that can be layered up for a glossy, bold lip, or worn as

If you’re keen to get a peek at what these look like on the lips, I recently collaborated with Doris from LookMazing, to share our MAC Collection’s on YouTube. You can check out my full collection and swatch video here.

We might be well into autumn here in Australia, I’ve been reaching for Shanghai Spice and Dozen Carnations, as the cremesheen formula is so light on the lips, and I love that that they add a subtle wash of colour (not to mention are easy to maintain!). And as far as I’m concerned, a good nude and a punchy red are all the lipstick essentials a girl really needs… What are your MAC lipstick must-haves?

Beauty Lessons I’ve learnt

beauty lessons ive learned diptyque marc jacobs lulu guinness
beauty lessons ive learned diptyque marc jacobs lulu guinness

This time two years ago, if you’d asked me what my beauty routine was, you would have been presented with a very minimal series of products. A contour kit used as an all-over bronzer, a liquid eyeliner (which two years on is still my holy grail), and any mascara from Lancome.

I’ve come a long way since then, or at least I’d like to think so. My vanity is close to bursting with beauty products, and while I don’t always reach for the foundation every morning, I’ve learnt the virtues of how to apply bronzer correctly.

Since I figured I can’t be the only one who made some completely basic beauty blunders, I thought I’d share some of the beauty lessons that I’ve learnt over the last year and a half.

Powder is e-s-s-e-n-t-i-al.
I never understood the importance of powder until I experienced my first Australian summer. Humidity and makeup do not make for fast friends, and having some powder on hand, or at the very least brushing a very good mattifying powder across your t-zone in the morning, is essential. Not to mention that it helps to set down your base and any concealer – just don’t go overboard; it can end up looking a little cake-y otherwise.

Have a strong brow game.
Online, I’ve often seen the following question posed; would you leave the house without your brows done or eyeliner on? Up until about a year ago, I was definitely in the latter camp, but after discovering the Brow Wiz, I’m not quite so sure. I don’t like to go overboard (nobody wants to look like Helga from Hey Arnold!), but filling them in just a little really does make a world of difference, and balances out any heavy eyeliner that you may have going on.

A bronzer is not a base.
I’ve been committing a cardinal beauty sin for so many years – bronzer liberally powdered over my entire face. Granted, I was using it primarily as a base (sans blush or highlighter though; I know!), but that’s not really much of an excuse. These days, I’ve cottoned on to the face that bronzer should be dusted over the points over your face where the sun is most like to hit; think, your temples, nose, jawline, and the outer frame of your face.

Foundation is the secret to a flawless complexion.
It wasn’t until I found the right foundation for me, that I realized what a game changer it was. I’d always thought that I had a pretty even complexion naturally, but a great base goes a long way in attaining that picture perfect and flawless complexion.

All red lipsticks are not created equal.
To me, it always seemed that a red was a red; and for the longest time, I always thought that this was something that only a blonde could wear without looking (or feeling) like a Jessica Rabbit caricature. Now, I seem to collect red lippies like they’re going out of fashion. I’m partial to an orange-based red as it really warms up the skin, but a blue-based red can really make your smile pop as it gives the illusion of even brighter ‘pearly’ whites.

There are no rules.
Perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learnt, is that there are no rules. Fancy a little bit of lilac eyeshadow on a Wednesday? Go for it. Want to wear a red lip every day, even though it’s not party season? Why not. The key is to enhance your natural attributes, and feel comfortable in the skin you’re in.

Given it was just a casual couple of YouTube videos that even got me into makeup, my makeup collection – and makeup skills – have certainly improved (not to mention I’ve picked up the odd beauty trick!). What beauty lessons have you picked up?

Rimmel The Only 1 Lipsticks

rimmel the only 1 lipstick review swatches
rimmel the only 1 lipstick review swatches

If there’s one thing I know by now, it’s that I have a bit of a soft spot for Rimmel. There aren’t many ‘drugstore’ or budget beauty brands that have continued to impress with each new product I’ve tried, which was why I was really excited to receive a selection of Rimmel’s latest lipstick release, the Only 1 Lipstick.

I’ve been wearing these on and off over the last few weeks, and overall, I’ve really been enjoying them. They apply incredibly smoothly, with medium pigment that can be built up for a full on injection of colour. The formula is one of the more moisturizing that I’ve tried, probably best described as an oil-based cream, which dries down to a semi matte finish on the lips. Once the lipstick has dried down, it pretty much doesn’t budge, even after a few cups of coffee and a veggie packed sandwich for lunch. I still like to carry the bullet in my purse for the odd touch up, and to slick an extra layer across my lips when they’re in need of some additional moisture. Wear time is also really good; you’ll get six hours wear at least out of your morning application, which is pretty long lasting for any lipstick in my books.

Perhaps what I love the most, aside from the slippery moisturizing formula is the scent; these smell just like grape flavoured candy, and give me nostalgia for the lipsmacker addict in me from my early teenage days.

The collection launched with 12 shades, ranging from everyday nudes, to deep plums and vibrant reds.

rimmel the only 1 lipstick review swatches

From l to r: #620 Call me Crazy, #810 One of a Kind, #710 Easy Does It, #700 Naughty Nude, #200 It’s a Keeper

One thing that struck me was the presence of shimmer particles in the nude lipsticks, which translates to a slight frost finish when glossed over the lips. It feels a little nineties, but it’s subtle enough to work for every day. Personally and perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve find the more nude-toned pinks the easiest to wear – the brights can get a little intense, although they’re great for those days when you really want to go for a bold (and bright!) lip.

Just one thing to note, the ‘nudes’ in the collection are much more mauve toned, so you aren’t going to find a your lips but better shade in this range. I’ve had shade #700 Naughty Nude floating around in my handbag for the last couple of weeks (along with my Kate for Rimmel Nude lipstick in 45), and it’s been such an easy go-to option.

is a gorgeous bright red with orange undertones, #810 One of a Kind is a deep brown toned burgundy, #710 Easy Does It is a brown toned mauve with a subtle shimmer running through it, #700 Naughty Nude is a mauve toned medium nude and #200 It’s a Keeper is a petal pink toned nude.

I have to admit, I’m pretty picky when it comes to lipsticks. My lips are incredibly sensitive and the wrong formula can set off a wave of eczema which can often take a week to heal up. These new lipsticks from Rimmel however, were gentle on my lips, and have been a dream to wear. I’ve been impressed with the quality of the formula and the wear time, that rivals many high end brands. These have definitely earned their keep when it comes to fighting for space in my vanity, and I’m looking forward to branching out and trying out some of the additional shades in the range.