Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My Top 5 Women's Fragrances + Perfume Tips

Perfume is always a gorgeous gift. It's classy, something the receiver can wear and think of you, and is a little bit luxurious! And well, who doesn't like smelling good?

While not all of us can afford to buy Chanel and Marc Jacobs (ohhh, but one day!), a designer label makeup product or fragrance is the perfect way to get that fancy feeling without breaking the bank.

And trust me, every girl wants to walk past people and have them stare after her because she smells delicious. No? Just me? 
So if you're looking for a gift for a special lady (or the most special lady of all - yourself!), here are my top 5 favourite scents, which might give you some scent-spiration!

Taken By Surprise: Top 5 Women's Fragrances 

5. Anna Sui Secret Wish - $74.00 for 75ml at Strawberry Net

Citrus and stone fruit, musky wood.

This was the first perfume I ever owned about seven years ago, and its scent still brings back memories! I loved it so much that I recently got given another one just because I really wanted to smell it again (creepy haha). I absolutely adore the potion-style bottle with the fairy on top - it makes me feel like I'm in a fairytale every time I wear it. This scent is very feminine and sweet, and would probably suit a teenage girl. 

4. Marc Jacobs Honey - $89.99 for 50ml at Chemist Warehouse

Winter fruits, vanilla and honey.

To me, this is the perfect work perfume. It's soft, very fresh, and definitely not too overpowering. It's also a very sophisticated scent that would suit young professional women.  Plus, just look at the adorable bottle! Marc Jacobs, you never fail to impress. 

Sweet fruit, dark chocolate and vanilla.

Don't know what to get? This perfume is a fail-safe choice for teenagers and young women. It's super feminine, sweet and floral, and I constantly get asked what perfume I am wearing when I have this on. It's a very popular scent and it's easy to see why. It works for both day and night and suits pretty much every occasion! As you can see, I've already finished my bottle (and I only had it for about six months!).

2. Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina - $110.00 for 50ml at Myer

Fizzy, floral and sweet desserts. 

This is the perfect young lady scent - not a girl, but not a woman, but somewhere in between (resisting the urge to sing Britney Spears right now...). It's not too sweet, but it's very feminine and refreshing. Think chic, but still a little flirty and cheeky! This would be a great scent to give to the special girl in your life - even better if she's the creative, arty type!

1. Harajuku Lovers G Of The Sea - $44.50 for 30ml at Strawberry Net

Floral, woody, sweet and fresh fruit.

And my favourite out of the collection! Not only is the bottle absolutely adorable, but this scent is so, SO delicious! It was given to me as a gift for my 21st and I am trying to ration it because it's limited edition. It's the sort of scent I love wearing to go out, whether it be with friends or out out. Plus, it's even better in summer! Pick this for the quirky girl, for the super fun scent and cute as bottle. 

Fragrance Quick Tips

- Spritz your perfume on before you get dressed. Scents hold longer on skin and many perfumes can discolour your clothing and tarnish your jewellery. 

- Apply your perfume on your pulse points. You already know about spraying your neck and wrists, but also try the bends of your elbows and behind your knees!

- Do you rub your wrists together after applying perfume? Try to resist the habit, because creating friction on your perfume creates heat which can reduce the strength and longevity of the scent. 

What is your signature scent? Let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

REVIEW: Makeup Under $10 (Part #3) - Essence, BYS, Boe Beauty

It's the third and final instalment of my Makeup Under $10 blog series! Today we're looking at Essence Cosmetics, BYS and Boe Beauty to see if these bargain beauties were worth the bucks or are a complete steal for the cost!

Let's jump straight in...

Essence Cosmetics 

(available at Priceline and Target)

Soft Touch Mousse Make-Up in '02 Matt Beige' - $6.50

I've never used a mousse foundation before, just because to me, 'mousse' sounds like the cakeiest of all cakey foundation textures! Even when I swatched some of the product with my finger from the pot, it definitely felt thick and heavy (though, admittedly, very soft and velvety). 

But I was pleasantly surprised! The coverage is medium and blends super easily over my skin. It did tend to settle in some fine lines around my mouth as you can see below, so what I would recommend is using a silicone primer before this foundation to stop that happening.

But as you can see in the second image, my complexion looks very smooth and airbrushed. I have a bit of redness on my face naturally and this foundation covered it all up! P.S. I'm wearing no concealer, so that was pretty impressive.

Okay, my opinion on mousse foundations has definitely changed! My skin felt very soft after using this and I was very impressed with the coverage and how easy it was to blend. My only qualm is that there are only three shades available, and while I can wear this one with no problems, I would still prefer one that's not quite as yellow.

Lipliner in '12 Wish Me A Rose' - $1.80

So many aussie beauty bloggers rave about these lipliners and it's easy to see why; the price is ridiculous for the quality! The pencil is creamy, easy to apply and blend, and really stays put. As you can see below, this particular shade is also almost an exact dupe in colour and finish to my favourite Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in '205 Elusive'!

In the first picture below, you can see me using it as an outline, then to fill in my lips. The colour is a gorgeous light pink that is pretty much my lip colour but better! This pencil does tend to sit in the fine lines of the lips (middle picture below), but it's not drying, so it really isn't too noticeable.

Loving this! The Essence Lipliner really does deserve the hype that it gets. While I wouldn't wear it alone, I think it would be gorgeous as a base for my Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm to keep the colour strong all day. 

Sparkling Effect Eyeshadow in '02 Dance All Night' - $2.85

Who else here is a palette girl? I really only buy single eyeshadows if they really appeal to me, like this metallic silver green shade. I thought it would make a gorgeous inner corner highlight, but unfortunately it's not as pigmented as it looks in the pan.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a lovely, bright shiny shade, but when applied it's not as bold as I would have liked. Maybe an eyeshadow primer would have helped. Plus the texture is a little rough and grainy, which make me feel like there are actual pieces of glitter in there, albeit tiny ones! As a contact lenses wearer, that makes me nervous.

I'll definitely be reserving this as an inner corner highlight, but I won't likely use it frequently. It's nice, but it's also just nice. 

Lash Mania Reloaded False Lash Mascara - $4.95

Um, look at that wand. LOOK. AT. IT. It's huge! Which I assume its what helps lashes look bigger, also aided by the plastic bristles that comb them through. 

I find the formula of this mascara pretty wet, which meant that I kept smudging it on my upper and lower lash lines, which got annoying pretty quickly. As for its power to oomph-up my lashes, I didn't use an eyelash curler for the below images and this mascara does make them look a bit longer and more curled. 

For just under five dollars, it's not bad. But I'd still be more than happy to pay the extra to get a mascara that I liked more. 


(available at KMart and most two dollar shops)

Liquid Illuminator in 'Glimmer' - $8.00

Oh, good 'ol BYS. I used to buy their products when I was in primary school to play with! But it looks like they've come leaps and bounds in quality and packaging since then, because the tube for this illuminator looks just like the Smashbox primer tubes! 

I picked up 'Glimmer', which is a really pretty rosy gold shade that I thought would look nice applied to my cheeks and cheekbones. But the illuminator itself has a very light (think liquid rather than gel) texture, which made it a little difficult to blend.

 It's probably more of a stain - you can see in the below right picture that it applied a little patchy. Then again, I was wearing a mousse foundation - it may have applied smoother if I was wearing a liquid one.

I think it would be really nice mixed into my foundation to give my skin an overall dewy glow, rather than use it as a targeted illuminator because it's difficult to blend to a natural finish. That, or I'd use it as a blush.

Eyeshadow Palette in '01 Neutral Charm' - $7.75

GUYS! If there is one product that you decide to get from this entire post, PLEASE make it this one! When I saw it, I thought it would be gorgeous for autumn and winter eye makeup looks because of all of the warm burgundies, golds and greens. But I didn't have high hopes for it because all of the other BYS eyeshadows I've used over the years have been failures. 

BUT THIS. THIS! This is completely and utterly my favourite purchase from this entire blog series.  After swatching each of the colours, they have - dare I say it - the same texture as the Urban Decay eyeshadows! The photos below don't give the colours and pigmentation justice; each shade is so buttery to the touch, vibrant and easy to apply and blend. 

Please. Please get yourself one of these. You get a palette of 18 different metallic to shimmery shades for LESS THAN EIGHT DOLLARS and their colour payoff and texture rivals Urban Decay. I'm so excited to create some eye looks with this!

BOE Beauty 

(available at Big W)

Matte Lip Cream in '32 Blush Pink' - $2.00

Is it just me or does pretty much every beauty brand have a matte lip cream product? This one definitely reminds me of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream, but unfortunately, it doesn't quite measure up. 

Matte lip colours really do need to be very opaque, because otherwise they will really highlight any dry patches on the lips. As you can see below, while the swatch is very pigmented and smooth, on the lips it doesn't apply as nicely as it looked like it would. The colour is great however, but really would need a lipliner (perhaps the Essence one above?) because it definitely can't hold its own.

I wouldn't recommend you go out to get these unless you wanted a really inexpensive alternative for the higher end lip cream products, but the Lime Crime Velvetines (around $22), the Australis Velourlips ($9.95 at Priceline) and the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams ($12.95 at Target) are all much better choices.

Liquid Eyeliner in '1 Black Noir' and '3 Metallic Purple' - both $2.00

The interesting thing with these two is that even though they look identical based on the packaging and are labelled as the same product, they are really quite different. The black liner comes with a firm felt tip applicator and the formula of the product is inky. Whereas the purple liner comes with a brush tip applicator and the product is paint-like and gluggy. 

As you can see in the swatches below as well, the black is much more pigmented than the purple.

The black liner was very impressive - the product is very vibrant and strong, and the firm felt tip made drawing a line and creating a cat eye every easy. I do worry however that the applicator will only last a few uses - you can already see the brush tip is beginning to fray slightly in the above photo. 

I was hoping that the purple liner was going to be a good dupe for the Lime Crime Eyeliner in Orchidaceous (Boe is the left swatch, Lime Crime is the right), but unfortunately, it really wasn't. The long brush tip makes applying the product very difficult, and the formula is quite watery and gluggy at the same time, which meant it applied very thinly.

The black was definitely a winner for me and I'll continue to use it, but I'll stick with my Lime Crime purple liner over the Boe one. 

And that's it for my Makeup Under $10 blog series! Did you enjoy these posts? Let me know in the comments below!

Want more bargain beauty reviews? Check out my previous posts!


Monday, 9 June 2014

REVIEW: Makeup Under $10 (Part #2) - E.L.F, MUD and W7

Here comes part two of my makeup under $10 blog series! In this series I've been trialling bargain beauty products to find out whether their super cheap prices are indicative of their quality, or if they're just fantastic deals! To catch you up, why don't you check out part one, featuring Daiso, ulta3 and FACE products? 

Today I'm playing with E.L.F, MUD and W7 products, so let's jump straight into it!


(available at Chemist Warehouse)

Creme de la Creme Cream Blush in 'Rosy' - $4.99

I'd never seen a cream blush this cheap before, so I was curious to give it a go. The shade itself is a hot pink / coral colour with some golden shimmer, which looks pretty daunting, especially after swatching it on my finger and seeing how dark it looks! The product itself kind of feels 'thin' and it's a bit oilier than other cream blushes that I've used. To be honest, it felt a bit like a lip balm!

But when applied, it is actually super sheer. It wasn't the easiest to blend because it tended to move my base makeup around, but overall the colour and finish is nice and natural. 

I'm neither disappointed or impressed with this product and while I like the look of it on my cheeks, I probably wouldn't continue using it. If you're after a cheaper cream blush, this is alright for five bucks, but I'd still pay the extra dollars for one with better pigmentation and that's easier to blend.

The Bronzer Matte Compact - $4.99

Now this was exciting to discover! Matte bronzers can be hard to come by for this price, so I was super stoked to try this out to see if it did a good job at contouring. When swatched, the colour looked pretty similar to NARS' Laguna Bronzer, so I had high hopes for this.

Unfortunately, it's not the easiest to apply. It ended up looking quite muddy under my cheekbones where I applied it using a big fluffy brush and it was quite difficult to blend - it stayed where you put it! But, I will say that I was pretty happy with the pigmentation for what I paid for it.

Once my NARS Laguna Bronzer runs out, I probably will continue to use this until I get a replacement.  Compared to other bronzers that I own, this one did a pretty decent job, but I will definitely apply it with a lighter hand next time!

Light Diffusing Concealer - $4.99

I was so excited to try this when I saw it because my Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Concealer has nearly run out and this looked like a similar type of product. Even the packaging is pretty close! 

But I was extremely disappointed when I took off the lid; the product had leaked out of the brush and crystallised on the end! I definitely wasn't putting that anywhere near my face.

While I didn't actually swatch this, let alone use it, I wouldn't recommend this one at all. Chances are that I just bought a bad one, but just the look of the congealed concealer on the brush has completely put me off buying another one to test that theory.

E.L.F - Eyes Lips Face 

(available at KMart)

Eyelid Primer in '7501 Sheer' - $3.00

An eyeshadow primer for THREE BUCKS?! Say what! This primer from ELF comes with a sponge-tip applicator similar to a lip gloss, which I like because I can apply the product straight to my lids and then blend it out using my finger tips. 

It's a bit thinner than other eye primers I've used, but I actually liked that! It didn't feel gluggy on my lids and was very easy to blend. And as you'll see in the next set of pictures, it actually did a pretty good job of bringing out the colour of the eyeshadow!

My Urban Decay Primer Potion has been acting up lately and I think it's split inside the tube, because every time I go to squeeze some out, I have to drain some sort of oily liquid before anything useable comes out. So I think I'll be using this until I buy a new one!

Long-lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in 'Gala' - $8.00

I picked this up assuming it was a cheaper alternative for the Maybelline Color Tattoos and it is pretty much the same product. The main difference is the colour range (there were only three to choose from at my local KMart), and the texture. This ELF shadow has a spongy-like feel to it.

The colour itself is a gorgeous, dark metallic brown with golden shimmer, which would look rad as a smokey eye for night time. Below you can see two swatches; on the left is with the ELF Eyelid Primer, and on the right is without.

I just applied it using my finger tips as I do with most pot eyeshadows and it was very easy to apply and blend out. I created a very simple smokey eye in less than a minute by applying one wash of colour to my entire lid, then applying a second layer to the outer third of my lid to deepen the look.

This didn't have the same level of pigmentation as the Color Tattoos from Maybelline, but for the price, it was pretty great! If you find applying powder eye shadows difficult, this are perfect for you because it easily created a pretty eye look with very minimal effort. Very impressed!

MUD Make Up Design 

(available at Safeway / Woolworths)

Gel Liner in '001 Black' - $8.00

Like most gel liners, the MUD one comes in a little pot with a brush that clicks into the lid for convenience. The packaging is pretty similar to the Rimmel London one and you get a lot of product for what you pay for, which are pluses in my mind. 

On the packaging, this liner claims to be waterproof and smudge proof. I agree to some point. The swatch below took ages to remove when washing my hands with soap and water, and you do have to use eye makeup remover to take it off your eyes. BUT, I must have had some left on my eyes because when I got out of the shower, I looked like a panda! So I agree that it's waterproof and smudge proof, but I wouldn't recommend going swimming or anything with it on. It'll be fine in the rain though!

The pigmentation is really impressive; it's a dark, true black that is easily opaque with only one layer, which is rad! The brush isn't completely flat so creating an even line or cat eye is a little more difficult than usual, but once you've got it, it looks pretty good.

I very rarely use gel liner (liquid liner represent!), but I'm really impressed with this. The colour payoff is awesome and it lasted all night when I wore it on a night out without smudging (even in the rain!) so I'd be more than happy to use this again. Definitely recommend this one!

Slim Lipstick in '016 Chasing Chili' - $5.00

With cheaper lipsticks, you don't usually get to try them or swatch them in store, so I just picked this based off the colour of the sticker on the packaging. I was lucky that the colour of the lipstick matched it pretty well, but I didn't know it would have that 'sheen' to it. 

The product itself is very sheer and is more of a tinted lip balm than a lipstick. The colour that I picked is more of a magenta than a chilli red like the shade's name suggests, but I actually quite like it on! It's not sticky, it's moisturising and has a really nice fruity scent. My lips were a bit dry in the below photo as well, but you can barely tell! #lovealipstickthathidesdrypatches

I won't be rushing out to buy all of the other shades in the range, but I will definitely continue to use this one. Overall, I was pretty happy with the colour payoff; it's subtle but very wearable, and it's really moisturising for a lipstick. Plus it applies really smoothly and evenly, so you could easily use it on the go without a mirror. 

Which product from this post impressed you the most? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for part three, featuring products from Essence, BYS and BOE!

Check out part one where I tried out products from Daiso, ulta3 and FACE.

Monday, 2 June 2014

REVIEW: Makeup Under $10 (Part #1) - Daiso, ulta3 & FACE

Generally, the opinion on cheap makeup is that it's, well, cheap (and nasty!). I'm definitely guilty of looking at the dollar or two dollar products and thinking they must only be for little kids to play with rather than as products to legit use on your face. You get what you pay for, right?

So when I was requested to do a blog post on makeup under $10, I was excited to scope out what products really were worth what they were worth, and which ones were just incredible value.

So I set off to a bunch of different shops and came back with a bag FULL of bargains - so many in fact, that this is only part ONE of my 'Makeup Under $10' blog series! For this post, I'll be reviewing, swatching and applying products from FACE, ulta3 and Daiso. So, let's get started!


(Available at KMart)

BB Cream Foundation in 'Medium' - $8.00

I'd never heard of this brand before, but I'm pretty sure that it's KMart's own brand of makeup. The packaging is super sleek and well designed, so I immediately wanted to try it. It comes in Light, Medium and Dark, and you can't try them in store, so I took a gamble with Medium. But for $8, I was happy to experiment! 

The texture of the BB Cream is definitely liquid, but it does feel a bit gel-like too. It's really hydrating, which I love (other BB Creams I've tried tend to sit on top of my skin and look chalky), it's long lasting (I can wear it all day without touching it up) and the coverage is medium. 

As you can see, it applies really evenly on my skin and gives a dewy, glowing finish. I didn't use any primer for these photos and I naturally have a bit of redness on my cheeks and around my nose, which you can't even see with this BB on!

This is definitely a steal for $8! Most BB Creams are $15 and up, so I'm stoked to have found one that beats them all for a fraction of the price. This was the only product I tried from this line, so now I'm really curious to try more.


(Available in selected pharmacies)

Lip Paints - $5.95 each

If you've been lusting after the new TooFaced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks or the Rimmel London Apocalips (Show Offs) but didn't want to fork out the cash? These are amazing alternatives that apply like a lip gloss but have the pigmentation of a lipstick. 

Some of the colours are stronger than others (my absolute favourite is Manic Mauve - second from the bottom), but for the price, owning the full collection is definitely not out of the question! I've already done a full review of these on my blog which you can find here.  

These are INCREDIBLE value for money and they come in a great range of colours. They're definitely worth more than they cost! 


(QV, Melbourne Central and Flinders Street - Melbourne)

Crystal Cream Eyecolor in 'Rose' - $2.80

When I saw these, they looked so much like the Maybelline Color Tattoos that I just had to see if they measured up! There were a couple of shades to choose from, but I picked Rose because it reminded me a bit of Maybelline's Bad To The Bronze.

It comes in a cute little pot with a gorgeous embellished lid and the product has a mousse-like texture. It applies pretty evenly and comes out as a pale pink champagne (think a Moscato colour). It has a lovely metallic sheen to it too.

On the eyes, the colour is very subtle and makes the lids appear very glossy. It's super easy to apply (I just used my finger tips!) and the overall finish is quite nice. 

I would definitely use this again and try out the other colours, but I recommend using an eyeshadow primer, because it did crease slightly. I imagine a primer would help bring that colour out too!

Beauty Eyelashes in 'Normal' - $2.80

I've heard really good things about the Daiso lashes, so I was looking forward to trying them out myself! You do have to buy eyelash glue separately however.

I picked these ones out of the huge range they stock because they flare at the outer corners (perfect because I wear winged eyeliner) and the lash line is clear. Please do excuse my less-than-average application... there is a reason I don't wear lashes very often!

They definitely did give my eyes a boost and they didn't look too over the top. These lashes are also reusable which is fantastic for $2.80.

#attemptatbeingkawaii #fail
If you're looking for an inexpensive set of lashes, definitely visit Daiso because there are just SO MANY to choose from and Japanese lashes are renowned for being some of the best. 

Mix Cheek Powder in 'Magic Color' - $2.80

Is it just me, or does this look pretty similar to Benefit Cosmetics' Hervana Blush? And yes, I did buy it because of that! Well, that, plus the adorable packaging! 

The cream and pink shades have a slight shimmer to them, while the purple and coral are matte, so you have the option to use each colour as individual blushes, or swirl them around to combine all four. When put together, they create a really pretty strawberry milkshake colour, which is more matte than shimmery.

The pigmentation is pretty good and creates a subtle flush on the cheeks which is natural, but definitely there! It applies really evenly and it gives the cheeks a bit of a glow too, which I like.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this blush! I rarely use powder blushes, but this one is so finely milled that it doesn't disturb my base, which is always liquid (be it BB cream or liquid foundation). I'll definitely continue to use this!

Vitamin C Cleansing Tissue - $2.80

These are easily the cheapest makeup wipes that I've ever seen and it holds 35 wipes, whereas most brands only hold around 20 per packet! Plus it's subtly scented with oranges which is super refreshing. And as you can see, it does a pretty good job at removing makeup! On the wipe is all of the makeup that I tried on for this post, so the BB Cream, eye makeup and blush.

It did struggle to take off the cream eyeshadow and the glue from the eyelashes as you can see in the second image below, but other than that, it did a great job at removing my base. The wipe left my skin feeling fresh, cleansed and not at all sore or raw, which a lot of makeup wipes tend to do to my face. As you can see, my skin isn't even red!

Um, for less than $3, these wipes are a steal! You get a lot more wipes per packet, they not only remove makeup but cleanse your skin too, AND they don't irritate my sensitive skin! I'll definitely be buying these from now on. As for my eyes, it's nothing a little eye makeup remover can't handle.

Which product from this post impressed you the most? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for part two, featuring products from MUD, ELF and W7!
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