I rarely buy myself beauty products these days, but I was very lucky to be spoiled around Christmas time so I thought I'd share my (very exciting) new things with you guys and my thoughts on the ones I've tried so far.
First up, my mum knows all about my love of Diptyque and on Christmas day she surprised me with one of the candles on my wishlist, Ambre. It has such a beautiful, warm scent and as soon as you open the cellophane wrapping around the box it's all you can smell. The next Diptyque candle that's firmly on my wishlist is Pomander and since I got a Mecca voucher for Christmas from my boyfriend's family Secret Santa you better believe I'll be getting my hands on it soon! My sister in law (and brother, but we know who really buys the presents) picked out the mini Byredo candle in Bibliotheque for me which was such a lovely surprise. She knows I'm all about typically "masculine" scents (not that gender has anything to do with it) and she said she was smelling candle after candle trying to pick the right one for me. I'd already had my eye on both Bibliotheque and Tree House so she hit the nail on the head and I was very happy when I unwrapped this little guy!
My parents (mum, obv) also surprised me with the Sunday Riley Power Couple which is a half size of their Good Genes serum and their Luna Sleeping Night Oil, both of which are cult products. I've tried samples of Good Genes before and really enjoy it. It uses lactic acid to gently boost cell turnover, leaving brighter, smoother skin come morning, and that's exactly what it does for me. If you're looking for a significantly cheaper option I've been using the REN Wake Wonderful Night Time Facial for ages now and I find the product and results are pretty similar, but I'm more than happy to bring Good Genes into my routine once I finish up my REN treatment. I haven't tried Luna yet but I'm super excited because it seems to get universally positive reviews, and I'm really keen to incorporate more retinol products into my routine.
I got my mum into in Charlotte Tilbury when I asked her to pick up a lipstick for me when she was in the UK last year, so a while ago we were browsing their website looking for some lipsticks for her and she let me pick a couple of things that she kept as Christmas presents for me. I got the K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in So Marilyn and it's a beautiful, rich red with a super creamy formula in her classic rose gold packaging. I also chose the Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita which has a shimmery champagne shade, a stain finish burgundy, a warm coppery glitter and a deep chocolate brown and they're so, so lovely together. I'm not normally into quads but Charlotte Tilbury is the exception.
I feel like Sigma brushes have been talked about since probably the dawn of beauty blogging and I've always wanted to try them, so when RY.com.au reached out and asked if I'd like to try the Sigma Most Wanted Brush Set* I was very happy to say yes. The brushes I'd always heard the most about are the F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush, and the E40 and E25 Blending Brushes, and all three are included in this set along with the E30 Pencil Brush and the F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush, so if I were going to spend my own money on any brushes from Sigma this would be the set I'd have chosen.
I think my favourite foundation brushes ever are the Real Techniques Buffing Brush (found in the core collection) and the Sephora Multitasker #45. The F80 reminds me of the Zoeva 102 Silk Finish in the way it feels on the face, but it's less dense which is my biggest issue with the Zoeva, so between the two I prefer the Sigma one. I have quite a few foundation brushes but I like it that way because I'm lazy and it means I have to wash them less often, so I'm glad to have another good one in rotation. I don't use pencil brushes that often so I don't have much of an opinion on the E30 Pencil Brush, but the E25 is very welcome as I use either the Zoeva 227 or MAC 217 every day because they're all dupes for each other and the Sigma ones performs just as well.
My two favourite brushes from the set are the E40 and F35, both of which were a pleasant surprise. I'd heard lots about the E40 Blending Brush over the years and I don't have any brushes similar to it. I didn't think it could be that special but I like applying and blending my crease shades with the E25/Zoeva/MAC version and then blending everything even more with the E40 and it really does make a difference. I either use it clean or if I've gone a bit overboard I'll use my lightest blending shade or a cream colour to tone everything down a little and it blends everything so well and just makes it all look so much more seamless. As for the F35, I hadn't really found my ideal highlighting brush until this came along. It's pointed but also fluffy so it picks up just the right around of product and is precise enough that I can put it exactly where I want it. No other brushes I'd used were suitable for highlighting my cupids bow because they're too big, but this one can make it happen and it's a real standout for me.
Last up from Christmas is the Kylie Lip Kit in Mary Jo K which was a surprisingly on-trend and very relevant gift from a family friend. I have no problem with the Kardashians/Jenners, I've just never been interested in them and don't really know anything about them other than everyone is going nuts for Kylie Cosmetics, but I'm glad to have the chance to try one of these out because I wouldn't have bought it for myself. I think the way the brand has cultivated exclusivity by restocking their online store with probably a very small quantity so that everything sells out in minutes is genius marketing, though it's not very fair to consumers. The actual product is a pretty good lip liner and liquid lipstick - it isn't super drying, hardly transfers and is very pigmented. But I don't think it's the best formula out there because it can go patchy and I found when I wore it I had to touch up more than I normally would with say the Stila or Sephora versions. It's also weird in the way that you can be wearing it for 5 hours but you still can't press your lips together without them being super sticky and you having to peel them apart. It's a difficult thing to describe but it's not especially pleasant and hopefully you know what I'm trying to say? I think if you're a major fan of Kylie Jenner you're going to want one either way, but if (like me) you're just into beauty and want to know if the actual product is worth the effort of stalking the website and paying for shipping, it's not. This isn't a bad product, but there are better liquid lipsticks out there that are much easier to get your hands on.
I also managed to Back 2 MAC enough to choose two new lipsticks, which I forgot to include in these photos. Since I already own all the MAC reds I'm interested in I decided to branch out and try something different. I'd be thinking about getting a matte nude for a while but I'm rubbish at knowing what shades will suit me, so I referred to Tenneil's Wanderlist because I knew she'd have some good recommendations. I ended up choosing Mehr and Faux, Mehr being matte and Faux with a satin finish, so it's a little more glossy but not too much. They're both really beautiful shades and I'm finally starting to see the appeal of a nude lip because it's so easy and low maintenance. I've really fallen for Mehr and think it's such a beautiful neutral-pink-nude shade. Although it's actually quite deep on me, it's exactly what I had in mind and it's hardly left my handbag since I picked it up.