It feels like it's about time to share some recent beauty favourites with you guys. They're almost all new discoveries except for one old favourite that's made a comeback - so I'll start with the makeup first.
While I was still overseas Australis released limited edition metallic cream eyeshadows that are dupes for the Stila Magnificent Metal shadows, but unfortunately by the time I got back to Australia I couldn't find them anywhere. I desperately hoped they'd bring them back because I'm obsessed with intense glittery eyeshadows but haven't been able to justify spending $47 on one of the Stila ones (and probably never will tbh.) My prayers were answered when they not only made them permanent but introduced new shades as well. As soon as I heard the news I actually went to the effort of phoning a few Pricelines around me to check that they had them in stock and went straight out to buy them that weekend. There are 6 shades in the line and I have four of them (there's also a plum and a dark silvery grey that aren't really my thing) and apart from them being absolutely gorgeous they also have hilarious names like Plum Diddy and Jay-Zed. They're under $10 each and I can't recommend them enough! And I believe the Australis website offers international shipping too. Speaking of intense glitter, I bought a small MAC Glitter in Antique Gold and neither words nor photos can do justice to how beautiful this is. My glitter obsession is never stronger than when it comes to blackened gold shades like this, so buying it and wearing it and just gazing lovingly at it scratches the itch - and I know I'm not alone when I say weird things like that!
My favourite new lipsticks lately have been the Giorgio Armani Rouge D'Armani Lipstick in 400 and Urban Decay's Revolution Lipstick in Shame. Of all the red lipsticks I have in all the varying shades, I think my favourites are the blood-of-your-enemies intense dark reds like these two. I think they really flatter my colouring (pale af skin with dark brown hair) and they make me feel like a badass, which is exactly what a good lipstick should do. Both of these lipsticks have excellent formulas, in fact I could put either of these on in the morning and not worry about touching them up until after I've eaten lunch around 1-2pm. The Armani lipstick looks like it would be matte in the bullet but it glides on like butter and has this sheen that gives it a beautiful depth of colour. As much as I'd love to come up with a different word to describe the way this looks on the lips, there is no more appropriate word than juicy. It makes your lips look juicy and amazing and I LOVE IT. As for the Urban Decay, I adore the formula of their Revolution Lipsticks and Shame is this incredible dark, dark red-berry. It's really difficult to find ultra-dark reds that don't lean too purple or too brown, but this lipstick with a red liner underneath or a red gloss on top will make you feel the same kind of flawless as Beyonce.
For complexion I've been all over the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer which has a beautiful formula, excellent shade range and a great applicator to boot. Lightweight, very pigmented and easy to blend, it works great under the eyes as well as around the face so it seriously rivals the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I have oily skin and recently I decided to test out all of my primers to see which ones actually help my makeup last longer and I was pretty surprised to find that the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm was one of the best performers. I'd used it for years but a while back I decided it was aimed at dry/dehydrated skin and couldn't possibly do what I need it to do. But when I tried it out again I really did notice a difference in the staying power of my makeup, a lot more so than with many of the silicone based primers I have. It's funny because you hear that it can make your foundation break up if you use a water-based primer and a silicone based foundation or vice versa and that you should stick to one type at a time. I looked into this a bit more and literally every foundation I own is silicone based, as is almost every primer, and yet this works better than most of them. So I'd take that advice with a pinch of salt because there aren't many water-based products out there anyway, but in this case I am well & truly back on the Beauty Flash Balm bandwagon.
When it comes to skincare, I am head over heels for the Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum. My first experience with facial oils was about two years ago with rosehip oil which everyone talks about like it's the second coming of Christ but it took me a while to figure out that it was giving me cystic acne, so needless to say we are NOT friends. A while back Antipodes released two different sets of mini serum/oil + moisturiser duos so I picked up the set with this oil (as the other one contains the devil rosehip) and with a few weeks of clear skin behind me I decided to once again dip my toes in the pool of facial oils and it was love at first use. I remember waking up the following morning and looking at my face and something was different. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but then I realised - I wasn't shiny. As someone with oily skin it's not unusual for me to wake up with a shiny face as my skin keeps producing sebum overnight but using a facial oil has helped balance out my skin and I've found that I'm actually less oily than before. I certainly still have oily skin, but I really feel like this helps take it down a notch, and it makes sense when you think about your face producing sebum (oil) the same way your scalp does - the less you wash you hair (remove sebum) the less often you need to, and the more you remove it the more it will produce. Obviously I'm not going to stop washing my face, but if I add back the oil I'm taking away then my skin will need to produce less of it to replenish what it's lost. And of course water-based hydrating serums and moisturisers are going to affect dehydration (lack of water) and facial oils are going to address dryness (lack of oil) or balance having too much oil. Everyone's skin is different so I can't guarantee this will work for you but it certainly has worked for me!
I've also loved the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. I'm not big on Clinique skincare but they really hit the nail on the head with this one - it's got a beautiful smooth texture that completely melts as soon as it hits the skin. It's also unscented and although my skin doesn't mind a bit of fragrance and I do find that adds to the experience, this is still a wonderful product and it'd be great for those of you with sensitive skin. For lip balm I've been really into the Episilk Lip Balm with hyaluronic acid. I bought this completely blind, having never heard about it before but I was intrigued by the fact that it has hyaluronic acid in it which is very common in skincare but not something I've seen in a lip balm. I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't have the most sexy packaging or name, but it's a great, effective lip balm with a simple ingredients list that has been really helping with my dry lips in this cold weather. I doubt anything will surpass the Nuxe Reve de Miel for me but sometimes you need something with a more lightweight texture and this has been my go-to lately.
I recently picked up the Real Techniques Sculpting Brush set, not for sculpting mind you as I've never contoured a day in my life, but because I'd heard the sculpting brush was good for foundation and the setting brush good for under the eyes and all the rumours are true. The sculpting brush is particularly great because you can use the point for getting in around the nose and then use the larger flat side for covering the rest of the face very quickly. And since we're on the topic of tools, I've got to mention the Muji Cotton Buds - I know, how sad can you get? But these tiny little cotton buds are great for fixing up your eyeliner or mascara when it gets all over your eyelid (i.e. all the time!) Yes they're completely unnecessary and regular cotton buds do the job just fine but here we are. They're smaller and nicer to use and they're just so little and cute.
A couple more things that aren't pictured - I recently got the Deep Steep Sugar Scrub and I really like it. It's what those in-shower body conditioners wish they were. Made with shea butter and coconut oil, the sugar particles dissolve on your skin as you scrub and you're left with slightly oily, hydrated skin even when you get out of the shower. If that sounds like a nightmare to you then this obviously won't be up your street, but if you're lazy like me and ceebs moisturising your body after you get out of the shower then this is excellent. I've also been absolutely L O V I N G doing my hair in twist braids before going to bed. I'm far too lazy to heat style my hair so this is perfect for me and I feel like I've found my thing that I'll be sticking with for years to come. Now, my hair will never have the super-human amount of volume that this girl's does, and furthermore a blunt fringe and excessive volume in the hair actually looks kind of crazy, but if you've got long hair give this a try because it might change your life like it did mine! I also feel like I need to link to Sally Hughes' In The Bathroom feature with Caroline Hirons in case anyone hasn't seen it that might like to. It's actually an hour long interview followed by an hour of digging through Caroline's skincare stash so it's basically skincare porn for weirdos like me (us.) Enjoy!