Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Haul & Reviews (UK & USA)

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Haul & Reviews (UK & USA)

I'm super lucky to have friends and family who humour me and don't mind picking up a few beauty bits and pieces while they're overseas. In August my family travelled around Europe and one of my best friends spent the month in New York, so I thought rather than ask them to run around picking up things for me when they should be enjoying their holiday, I ordered what I wanted online and had it delivered to them or to a shop near them so they could pick it up for me. Because money is tight these days I think I was pretty conservative with what I bought since just stuck to things that were hard to get my hands on at home, and I've had them all for long enough now that I can give you my thoughts on most of it as well.

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There aren't many UK brands that we don't have access to here, but for whatever reason Soap & Glory’s makeup still eludes us. Mecca has stocked their body care range for years, but unfortunately we can't get their makeup unless we buy it off eBay. Their One Heck of a Blot Powder is probably my favourite powder ever and I've used the one I have sparingly ever since I hit pan a year ago, so I ordered two backups since I don't know when I’ll have access to it again. I also decided to try out the One Heck of a Blot Primer as I’ve heard good things, but I’m still testing it out and haven’t made up my mind yet.

I wanted to try their Brow Archery pencil – there’s a few different varieties these days and I wanted the one with a spoolie on one end and a thin pencil on the other like the Anastasia Brow Wiz, but by the time I placed my order they were out of stock. I did manage to get the Supercat Carbon Black liquid liner but it’s got a really thick, firm felt tip, so I find it difficult to get a precise line. I think it’d be good for beginners but I’m used to a really thin, flexible brush so this isn’t my favourite. I also picked up a couple of nail polishes from Barry M. I remember there being a lot of hype about the Gelly Shine shade Lychee back in the day, and I liked the look of the Speedy Nail Paint in Freestyle. They're both good quality polishes with a great formula, but my one complaint is that the Gelly Shine has a standard thin brush instead of a thick one (like Essie) which is such a turn off for me!

My mum was also lovely enough to pick up Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red. Like everyone else, I’m in love with the rose gold packaging and the overall presentation of her brand. I haven’t tried anything of hers before this but just about everything gets raved about. I thought I’d play it safe and choose a lipstick though. I have to admit, I did think it would be a deeper red from all the swatches I've seen online, but the formula is beautiful, and I do really love it and have been wearing it a tonne lately.

From the US I think I ordered really conservatively – I only placed two Sephora orders because we have access to most brands these days, and I placed one with Glossier, which we don’t have access to, and another from ColourPop whose international shipping rates make ordering from them normally pretty infeasible. I wasn’t sure when the UD Vice lipsticks would be released in Australia (they now have been, lol) but their Revolution formula is one of my all-time favourites and I was really keen to get my hands on a couple of shades.

When Ms. Mia Wallace originally came out as a limited edition shade I didn’t know anything about it, but I saw it online after it had already been and gone and desperately wanted it because it looks like the most incredible blood red, which is my favourite shade to wear and is always what tempts me the most. I also got Hex because it looked like an even deeper blood red and it's actually a fair bit darker than what I usually go for, but I can still make it work. The Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks are one of my favourite formulas out there, so I was sad to see them being replaced by the Vice ones. Although I really enjoy these two lipsticks, I prefer both the packaging and formula of the Revolution lipsticks. The Vice formula, at least for these two matte shades, is a little stiffer and slightly more difficult to apply, and when you take off the lid the base of the lipstick where you'd normally hold it while applying is really small. Nothing major, but I do think they had it right with the Revolution lipsticks and kinda wish they hadn't changed them.

Along with the lipsticks I picked up a mini of the Tatcha Chamomile Cleansing Oil which comes in a heavy, luxe-feeling bottle with a gold lid, which, although beautiful, isn't actually all that great for travel. It's got a lovely formula though and melts away makeup really easily. I also picked up a small size of the Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner, which is a bit of a boring one, but this brush cleaner is SO good. I've used a mini before and not only is it great at cleaning your brushes but it smells like vanilla instead of horrible chemicals like every other brush cleaner. I also got some pretty decent freebies with these two orders - a mini of the Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer which I've used before and really enjoy, and a mini Shiseido SPF which has an insanely strong white cast, even if you shake the bottle before applying, so I'm glad I didn't spend any money on this because I won't be finishing it. I also got samples of the Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme Cream, Lancome Energie de Vie Daily Aqua Gel and the Hourglass Ambient Light Primer. I know a lot of people don't have time for foil packet samples but if it's a product I'm actually interested in, like the 3 of these, I'll try and get a couple of each, decant them into little pots and use them for a week or so because I think that gives you a pretty good idea of whether you'd like the product or not. Plus, they're free!

Everyone has been raving about ColourPop for years now but an affordable $5 product becomes more like a $13AU product when you have to factor in international shipping rates plus currency conversion, and that adds up pretty quickly. But not having to pay for shipping meant I could try out a few things without breaking the bank. I chose the Bichette Lippie Stick and Supershock Shadows in the shades Get Lucky, Nillionaire, So Quiche & I Heart This. To be honest, given the amount of hype Colour Pop gets I was expecting to be let down a little, but that really hasn't been the case. I'd heard their matte shadows could be hard to blend, plus I'm more inclined to use matte shades from palettes than as singles, so I only got shimmers. I apply them with my fingers and then blend them out with a brush and all 4 shades are lovely and I've had no trouble with any of them. They blend easily and last really well throughout the day. The Lippie Stick is excellent too, I prefer matte formulas and this one isn't drying in the slightest, but it lasts for ages on the lips, and the colour is really saturated and beautiful. I had pretty moderate expectations and thought I'd have at least one negative thing to say but for the products I chose I just don't have anything!

As for the Glossier stuff, I bought the Milky Jelly Cleanser and the Rose Balm.com. I wasn't sure which flavoured balm to get as I like the sound of rose, coconut and mint, but rose won in the end because I think the packaging is the prettiest. It's a lovely balm that I find protects the lips from dryness really well, and it's not too glossy either, but I love the packaging! Aside from the colours it's like a soft plastic that crumples up but not in an unattractive way like a metal tube does. I know that's probably a weird thing to be into but it's really adding to my enjoyment of the product. I've just started using the Milky Jelly Cleanser and I think it's great. It has a really unique texture, like a thick gel but it doesn't foam at all, and it still washes off clean. It also doesn't emulsify and turn into a milk like the same would suggest, which I think is a good thing. Although milky in colour, I'd say it's more like a gel-oil, maybe like a thicker Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel? But whatever you call it it's a lovely cleanser and I'm really enjoying it.