Monday, 23 February 2015

REVIEW: Mavala Switzerland Fantasy Color Collection Nail Polish Swatches

Have I been living under a rock? Because apparently Mavala Switzerland nail polishes have been around longer than me! 

And as it turns out, it looks like I've been missing out on some lovely lacquers while I've been sitting in my little rock home! 

I was recently sent the new Fantasy Color Collection from Mavala and prior to that, I had never even heard of the brand! Ask your mums and grandmothers - I'll bet that they'll have used it when they were young ladies!

While the packaging is a little old fashioned for my taste and I'd be guilty of probably overlooking them on the shelf for that reason alone, the opacity of these polishes is pretty good. Some of the shades are a little 'mature' for my preference, but they'd be very suited to the older beauty lovers out there. That said, there are some colours that will definitely get a lot of us in my polish collection! 

Velvet Prune

Velvet Prune is a deep burgundy red, similar to the colour of red wine. On the first coat, this shade dried so quickly that it began to apply streaky and lumpy, but once I topped it with a second coat, it quickly evened out and left a gorgeously smooth finish. Always apply a second coat beauties!

Warm Cognac

Warm Cognac is a warm, deep red-brown. This particular shade applied very evenly on both the first and second coats and had a deliciously opaque finish. It isn't the kind of colour I would normally wear as it's quite dark, but it would really suit a more mature beauty lover.

Duchess Rose

Duchess Rose is a soft, dusty pale pink that's very similar to Essie's Ballet Slippers. This is easily my favourite shade of the Fantasy Color Collection and I can definitely see myself using up everything in the bottle as it's such a universal, everyday colour. It's stunningly creamy, smooth and opaque, and I love, love, LOVE it!

Amber Drop

Amber Drop is a metallic gold with a shimmering, micro-glitter finish. This shade is absolutely beautiful in person and reminds me of liquid gold. Unfortunately for me it's not that wearable as a full manicure because I have a yellow undertone to my skin, but I can definitely incorporate this shade into nail art looks and tutorials.

Flannel Grey

Flannel Grey is a steel silver with a slight, glittery metallic finish. The finish of this shade is literally, just like metal! It's fully opaque, multidimensional metallic that would look amazing on shorter, square nails, or as an accent in nail art looks. 

Caftan Blue

Caftan Blue is a mid-toned blue with large silver pieces of glitter. This is unfortunately my least favourite of the collection as I found it applied a little chunky. However, after a second coat it did even out into a smoother finish. 

Disclaimer: These polishes were sent to me for consideration. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own!

Have you tried Mavala nail polishes before? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Easy DIY: How To Make a Phrase Bracelet

Feel like a crafternoon? These DIY bracelets are super easy to make and the variations are endless! 

If you're keen to increase your jewellery collection or make a little something special for a gift, read on!

After being inspired by LaurDIY's cute idea, I thought I'd share the love and help teach you guys how to make your own word bracelets. They won't even take you five minutes to make, so trust me, you'll very likely want to make more than one!

What you'll need:

(You can easily find all of these at your local art supplies store!)

- Scissors
- Metal or plastic alphabet beads 
- Black Rattail Cord

1. First up, cut a piece of the Rattail cord that can go around your wrist, with a few extra centimetres. For me, a 30cm piece is perfect, but feel free to cut less or more depending on the size of your wrist. Remember, it's always better to cut more than for the cord to be too short!

2. Next, choose your phrase! With the alphabet beads, spell any word or sentence you like. I went with 'BREATHE' as I think it's a great reminder to have on your wrist when you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Once you've decided, tie a knot in the cord and begin threading your beads on. When you've popped them all on, tie a knot at the end of the word, so your beads stay in place and don't move around.

3. To finish off your bracelet (I told you it was easy!), tie a knot at the end of one side of the cord. Then with the other end, tie it to the knotted end. That way you can adjust the size of your bracelet when putting it on and taking it off, simply by sliding the second knot up and down along the cord!

And that's it! It's SO easy and they're super cheap to make. 

If you want to make one with multiple words, all you have to do is tie knots between each word to keep the beads separate like I have below. Keep in mind - the more beads that you use, the longer your cord will need to be!

What word or phrase would you use for these bracelets? Let me know in the comments below!


Monday, 9 February 2015

REVIEW: Bioderma Sensibio VS Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

This fairly new player in the beauty industry is making waves, and not just because it's a water product (ha ha ha). 

If you've yet to jump on this beauty bandwagon, Cleansing Waters are a makeup remover and toner all in one. To use, all you do is dampen a cotton pad and swipe it all over your face, effectively removing any makeup or leftover oils or dirt on the skin. Plus, it also both cleanses and tones your skin, without any need to rinse it off afterwards.

Sounds pretty genius, right?

From my experience, French brand Bioderma was the first to release a Micellar Cleansing Water product and it's one that I've been using for a good year now. But it's quite pricey (think around $30 for a medium-sized bottle!) so when Garnier released their own wallet-friendly version, I was keen to compare the two.

So let's start off with the basics...

At Priceline, a 250ml bottle of Bioderma Sensibio is super expensive at $29.99, while you can get a 400ml bottle of Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for $11.99. However you can also buy Bioderma in small 100ml and value-sized 500ml bottles for $19.99 and $39.99 respectively, while the Garnier only comes in one size.
Winner: Garnier

The bottle opening on the Garnier is flat - imagine a hole in the middle of a circle - so when you try to pour it, it tends to spill, wasting product. In the past I have had the lids of the Bioderma bottles snap off, but the fact that you can get three different sizes of the Bioderma (I love the 100ml for travelling) more than makes up for it.
Winner: Bioderma

Garnier only offers one product, which is a do-it-all product. But I like that the Bioderma range has three different types formulated for skin type. In this review we're looking at the Sensibio variety, which is made for sensitive skin like mine.
Winner: Bioderma

Bioderma is only available at Priceline and selected chemists, while you can find the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water at pretty much any Garnier stockist, including supermarkets. It's definitely more easy to access!
Winner: Garnier

Now that's we've covered the basics, let's compare how effective they both are. Below you can see I've got on a full face of makeup, complete with a cream shadow-based smoky eye including liquid liner and mascara, and a strong matte lip. This look would be a task to take off for any makeup remover!

For this comparative review, I'm going to remove half a face of makeup with Bioderma, and remove the other half with the Garnier. That way we can directly compare the two. So let's get removing! 

Eye Makeup

Side by side, it's pretty obvious that the Bioderma did a better job at removing my eye makeup. The Garnier did well taking off my mascara (which by the way, is a tubing mascara) as you can see from the cotton pad, but it left a lot of my liquid eyeliner on, as well as mascara flakes on my skin. The Bioderma left no makeup behind! It's worth mentioning however that even though I wore contact lenses for this review, neither of the two cleansing waters irritated my eyes, which was great!

Liquid Lipstick

For this review I wore the most pigmented, long-lasting lipstick I own - Lime Crime's Velvetine in Red Velvet. This stuff stays put! Both cleansing waters still left some product on my lips, so it looked like my lips were stained red, but both managed to remove the bulk of the Velvetine. However the Garnier took a lot of hard 'wiping' to get the lipstick off, as you can see on the cotton pad! The Bioderma managed to remove its side in one swipe.

Face Makeup

Both products took three cotton pads-worth of applications to fully remove all traces of my makeup, but as you can tell from the image below, I really had to wipe hard on my skin when using the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. A motion that isn't really great for your skin in the long run! 

But as you can see below, both cleansing waters still did a good job at removing my makeup and cleansing my skin. Neither irritated my skin or left it red, and my face felt refreshed, tightened and smooth on both sides.

And the winner is...

Bioderma Sensibio!
While the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is great if you're on a budget, it still doesn't quite measure up to Bioderma's Sensibio. Bioderma is gentle, has no scent, leaves my skin clean from makeup and it doesn't dry out my sensitive skin. If I have a late night and don't have time to do a full skincare routine, just removing my makeup with this is enough as it simultaneously tones while it cleanses. Even though it's pretty exxy, the medium size bottle lasts me around two-three months and you can sometimes catch the whole range on sale at Priceline for 40% off.

So which team are you on? Bioderma or Garnier? Let me know in the comments below!


Monday, 2 February 2015

7 Beauty Products Worth The Splurge (And Which Ones To Save On!)

There is nothing that breaks my beauty-loving heart more than spending up on a product, then going home and hating it. And knowing I can't take it back.


So it really pays (ha!) to do your research on which products are worth the money, especially because us Aussies are #blessed to have ridiculously marked up prices on beauty products, so the old adage of you get what you pay for isn't always accurate!

And because I've got your back with these things, I've rounded up 7 types of products that will always be worth splashing the cash on, as well as those that you can get away with buying their cheaper alternatives. You and your wallet are welcome!

Splurge - Moisturiser & Serum

Or pretty much any skincare product that you don't rinse off! Moisturisers and their exxier (but totally worth it) counterparts, serums, will always be worth the extra dollars because these products sink into the skin to give long-lasting effects. Plus as the prices get higher, so do the quality of the ingredients and the number of benefits, such as added SPF, evening out your skin tone and helping your makeup go on smoother.

Save - Cleanser

These are literally only on your skin for a minute at most, before it gets washed down the drain! Unless you are allergic to certain ingredients or have particularly sensitive skin, any old cleanser will do to wash your face with. Those delicious-sounding ingredients in those expensive formulas? They won't be on the skin long enough to have any effects before they get rinsed off, so don't bother!

My favourite: Albion Exage Moist Crystal Milk II,  $30 - $50 approx

Splurge - Face Primer

Think of primers like the base coat for your makeup - no matter how cheap the base products you use are, a good quality primer will instantly transform the way your makeup applies and looks for the better. Cheaper primers are often thicker and can clog pores, so it's worth investing in a more expensive one as they are usually thinner and easier to blend, and many also counteract any redness in the skin, are flash photography friendly and even make your makeup waterproof!

Save - Foundation

If you have a good primer, it doesn't really matter what foundation you use as the primer will help it blend, as well as go on smoother and more evenly. Affordable brands like Maybelline New York and Rimmel London both have a great range of foundations for around $20, and keep in mind - many of your favourite affordable brands are owned by high end makeup companies, and often their stellar formulas will trickle down to their cheaper labels, just repackaged! 

My favourite: Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, $25 - $69

Splurge - Face Powders

The giveaway for how high-quality a face powder is, is how finely milled the powder is. The higher price point is usually an indication of the time spent processing the powder, and the finer the powder, the easier it is to blend it seamlessly into the skin. Especially with setting powders, bronzers and highlighters, cheaper versions often use glitter to create that illuminating effect, which usually don't apply or blend as well as their more expensive counterparts that use tiny shimmer particles to get a softer and more natural effect.

Save - Blush

While there's nothing like a gorgeous NARS or MAC blusher on your vanity, if you have a big collection of lipstick, you can easily use your lippy as a cream blush and save yourself the cash.

My favourites: NARS Bronzer in Laguna, $49 and Hourglass Ambient Powder Wardrobe, $76

Splurge - Eyeshadow

I have yet to find a drugstore eyeshadow that I well and truly love, because nothing really compares to the buttery smooth texture and pigmentation of more expensive shadows. I recommend getting a palette from a brand like Lancome, Stila or Urban Decay, so you get more value for money as eyeshadows are one of the most expensive beauty products you can buy.

Save - Eyeshadow Primer

This is a fairly new product to hit the market, and as a result they're pretty expensive and hard to find in drugstore product ranges. But while they're nice and all, you can get the same effect by using a liquid concealer or cream eyeshadow applied lightly to the eyelids before adding your powder shadows. EASY.

My favourite: Urban Decay NAKED3 Palette, approx $54

Splurge - Makeup Brushes

If there's one thing beauty lovers agree on, it's that a good makeup brush will always be worth the spend! The bristles will be softer, easier to clean and better at applying your beauty products. Cheaper alternatives often drop their hairs on your face, apply streaky and generally don't last as long. I've even heard of horror stories where the brush dye leaks out from some cheaper ones when you wash them! #eek #yougetwhatyoupayfor

Save - Brush Cleaner

Unless you're a makeup artist who needs to constantly spot clean brushes, you can totally get away with washing your brushes with gentle dishwashing liquid and olive oil, or a simply formulated shampoo and conditioner. Both methods will effectively clean and condition your brushes and it is much cheaper than buying a special product.

My favourites: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, $19.99 and Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush, $46

Splurge - Hair Styling Products

While styling products such as salt spray, mousse and oils are by no means essentials to your beauty routine, they certainly do help make doing your 'do a lot simpler! Investing in a good heat protectant spray - even if you don't use hot tools - will benefit your hair in both the short and long term to keep it healthy with the multiple blow dries it endures each week (or day, if you're so inclined!). And most hair products come in large bottles and sprays, so if you think about them in terms of cost per use, they're actually quite affordable!

Save - Shampoo & Conditioner

Unless you have coloured hair, any combo is going to work just fine! Skip the pretty bottles and go straight for brands like Schwarzkopf or Garnier which are very affordable and do a fantastic job (and come in a huge range of types!). Don't forget, these products get washed away in the shower - so keep it simple!

My favourites: muk Beach Muk, $23.95 and muk Hot Muk, $23.95

Splurge - Top & Base Coat

It really doesn't matter what nail polish you use - if you have a great quality top and base coat, your manicure is going to last. A good base coat will help stop coloured polish staining your nails and many have the added benefits of strengthening and whitening your nails. And a top coat will help seal in your colour and prevent your polish from chipping as quickly as it would without one. You could use a discount bin $2 polish, but an amazing top and base coat will make it last like a professional manicure!

Save - Coloured Nail Polish

While brands like Essie and OPI have beautiful polishes, it's pretty easy to find dupes for them in more affordable ranges. I highly recommend the Maybelline Super Stay 7 Days polish range which retail for $7.95 each and last two weeks on my nails!

My favourites: Sally Hansen XTreme Wear in Invisible, $6.95 and L'Oreal Paris 7 In 1 Saviour Miracle Serum, $8.95 

What beauty products do you think are worth the splurge? Let me know in the comments below!

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