Tag Archives: Beauty

Nars at Mecca Cosmetica

31 Oct

I’ve wanted to make a big Nars purchase at Kiss and Makeup for awhile, but am wary of buying without knowing what would look good. I did that with Nyx, and while there were a lot of hits they were also a few misses. It was okay with Nyx because it’s cheap, but Nars is pricey so I wanted to make sure I would love whatever I bought.

I originally went to Mecca to play with the colours, but I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of staying there for ages and not buying anything. So I booked a $150 make-up lesson with the intent of experimenting with Nars.

For eyeshadows, the makeup artist brought out all the colours and she showed me the ones that would look good on me. She said that I should be able to do anything in the beige/brown/gold family, and also purples and earthy colours, but I should stay away from cool colours.

I wanted to try a more experimental colour, so we tried the Rated R eyeshadow duo, which is lime green and bright blue. I ended up hating the look – I kept trying to like it, but failing (admittedly it looks extra weird because I only have eye makeup on, so the whole look is unfinished). But anyway, I’m glad we tried it because now I know it’s not for me. I kept thinking that I looked like Mimi from Drew Carey.

The lens was really close and I was staring really hard at it, hence the cross-eyed stare. OMG right after I wrote that, James walked past, looked at my screen, and was like:

James: Are you cross-eyed?
Me: The lens was close to my face. Fuck you.
James: Sorry. It’s just really obvious.
James: (helpfully) Maybe you can photoshop it out.

It was a lot more fun playing with the lipsticks, but unfortunately I didn’t take any notes so I’m not 100% sure what some things are. This is either the Hopi velvet gloss lip pencil or the Calliope velvet matte lip pencil with Giza gloss on top. I love it – it’s like a better version of my lips.

Also, can I just say that I am really happy with my lips in general? I really like my natural lip colour (which I think is why I tend to gravitate to lipsticks that are similar to my natural lips). Actually I’m really happy with my skin too – in the photo of my whole face you can see there’s a small blemish on the right of my upper nose, but that’s not bad given that I’m not wearing any foundation in these photos.

I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a little and try other lip colours, so the makeup artist picked out a couple of corals and reds – apparently a blue-based red works best for me. Also, a handy tip when you want to test lipstick but can’t do it on your lips is to test it on the tip of your pinky, cos apparently that is the part of your hand closest to your lip colour.

This is a light red suitable for daytime. It’s called Pop Life, and I think at this point I have a small amount of blush on as well (Gina). Still no foundation or concealer though. =D

A more dramatic red lip for the evening. This is the velvet matte lip pencil in Cruella.

And this is Cruella with a gloss on top – I think it’s Bad Education, but it could have been Rose Gitane.

This is what I ended up getting:

  • Gina blush
  • Pop Life velvet matte lip pencil
  • Calliope velvet matte lip pencil
  • Stain remover (to bring it past $150)

I also received a complimentary sample pack containing:

  • Origins Youthfopia skin firming cream
  • Nars body glow
  • Bumble and Bumble thickening hairspray
  • Hourglass Film Noir mascara
  • Go Smile teeth whitening touch up

It’s a pretty generous gift pack! Not generous enough for me to pay twice the overseas price for Nars in the future, but enough to take the sting off. =) And now I have a good idea of the colours I want to get with my next make-up purchase. Plus it was fun playing around with the colours, finding out what would work with my colouring and the reasoning behind it.

I want to pick up Giza, Hopi, and a couple of other lip glosses we tried, but these will do until Kiss and Makeup have another sale. Oh, and I also want the Alahambra eyeshadow duo, which the makeup artist raved about and said would be the go-to set for anyone with brown eyes.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica

New Experience #4 (And My Sasa Skincare Haul)

12 Sep

A couple of weeks ago I became obsessed with Sasa, which is an online store that carries a lot of Asian beauty brands and is cheaper than Strawberry Net for a lot of products. I spent about $150 USD, mainly on brands that I can’t get here, and received free expedited shipping to Australia (which took about a week).

BB Creams

Apparently BB creams are like tinted moisturisers with suncreen (and some sort of skin whitening stuff?) and are really popular with Asian women. I bought two different brands to try – Skin79 and L’Egere.


I also bought a couple of lotions (Asian lotions = Western toners) – the HadaLabo Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Lotion and a sample size of Kose Medicated Sekkisei Recovery Essence.


I also picked up a travel-sized set of Shu Uemura cleansing oils (which also came with a sunscreen and moisturiser), and the Juju Aquamoist Washing Foam.


I bought a little travel sized version of the Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, a little sample size of the SK II Anti-Age Skin Signature moisturiser, and the Juju Aquamoist Moisture Milk. I also got the Kose Urenoa Moist hand cream because it was super cheap ($2.80) and I figured I could just chuck it in my backpack to help my torn-up post-BJJ hands.


I picked up some hydrating face masks by Juju Aquamoist. My favourite purchase was a tiny sunscreen called Naris Up Frogtime Sun Protect Milk SPF50+. If a coy frog with sparklehands can’t protect me from the sun I don’t know what can.

Frogtime Sun Protect!

Sasa also threw in a free lip balm, but eh.

And this all ties in to my new experience for last week – to try out some new skincare. It’s actually going to take more than one week (though I will only count it for one) because I’m going slowly in case something reacts badly with my skin – that way I can pinpoint what caused it. I got the idea from my physio, who would wait until I’d done an exercise for a week before adding another one.

So far I’m loving the HadaLabo lotion – it’s much better than the (vastly more expensive) SK II toner I used to use,  and after an initial tacky feeling on my skin it absorbs beautifully and leaves my skin really plump and hydrated. I keep patting my face now. =) I spent a not-insignificant amount of time this morning hunting for a travel-sized version of the lotion, but while a 30ml version exists, it is unavailable for purchase. I’ll just have to decant some of it into a smaller container for travel.

The next product I’m going to add is the Juju Aquamoist washing foam, then the moisture milk. Hopefully they are as awesome as the Hadalabo lotion.

Also at some point in the next couple of weeks I have to go to Chemist Warehouse and buy some more Cetaphil gentle cleanser because we’re running low and it’s the only cleanser James likes. Cetaphil have a special offer at the moment where you get a free moisturiser with the 1L cleansers and I’m stocking up because I’m cheap like that. =)

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare

Streamlining My Makeup Collection

22 Jul

Sometimes I get temporarily excited by random things, and this week I am excited about paring down my make-up collection. It’s currently overflowing from a plastic box, and I have to rummage around to find the stuff I’m after. Pah!

So I got rid of a bunch of stuff – colours that I don’t like (or are too similar to other ones I already own), and some mineral eyeshadows that I never use.

I want to upgrade some of the make-up brushes I own (I’m looking at the A’Squirrel brushes, which are supposed to be great quality, but their customer service is terrible). I don’t like any of the brush rolls, which are usually black polyester or (horror) imitation leather. So I hunted on Etsy and, after sorting through pages of search results with some truly garish prints, found this little beauty for $20 CAD.

image from Pigeonatelier

And another shot partially unrolled so you can see where the brushes go.

image from Pigeonatelier

So I’m going to offer Cat the make-up that I don’t use, and just keep my favourites. I did make a couple of last minute additions to my make-up collection:

The new limited edition Nars blush/bronzer/highlight trio ($55 USD). Australian prices are close to double what people in the US pay, so I bought it from Kiss and Makeup which has $9.95 flat rate international shipping.

image from Nars

Since the shipping was flat rate I also bought a tinted lip balm from Fresh in Honey, a warm nude colour ($22.50 USD). I have a lot of lip balms but no tinted ones, and Fresh’s tinted lip balm range gets pretty good reviews.

image from Fresh

Unfortunately Kiss and Makeup NY sent me the wrong colour lip balm. They sent me the Rose, which would have been my second choice, but my heart was really set on Honey. When I emailed them to ask about correcting the order, the company was fantastic. They sent me the Honey and told me to keep the Rose. Awesome!

Nyx Makeup (AKA: When Pampered Housewives Go Crazy)

30 Jan

I asked a BJJ friend what her favourite make up brand was, and without even thinking she replied Nyx. I was totally expecting to hear something like MAC, Stila or Nars, so I thought “hmm, alright then” and promptly forgot the information.

A week or so later I was browsing highly rated reviews on Makeupalley, and Nyx kept coming up, so I thought it would be worth doing some more research on it. And whoah, Nyx seems to be this fantastic combination of ridiculously cheap and really good quality.

So I got Cat in on it, and we figured we’d buy a couple of things from Cherry Culture to test out the brand. Due to my compulsive analness I cross-checked reviews on Makeupalley against swatches from Spektra, and had like 30 tabs open on my browser.

image from Cherry Culture

Anyway, long story short, we ended up spending about $150 each (including shipping). Oops. But on the plus side, $150 bought me 2 things from Mecca Cosmetica, whereas it got me like 20 items from Nyx, supposedly of comparable quality. Look how freaking adorable these lip balms are. Plus they had 20% off!

James: So now you’re set for awhile … (voice going up hopefully at the end)

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, this came after Cat and I (woohoo! Partners in crime!) spent about the same amount at Skinstore. I’d read all these great reviews on the Clarisonic Mia and talked her into buying one as well.

image from Clarisonic

According to Skinstore the benefits include:

  • More than 2x as effective as manual cleansing
  • 6X more makeup removal.
  • Leaves skin feeling and looking younger and smoother.
  • Increases product absorption.
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Helps reduce oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes.
  • Helps reduce the appearance of visible pores.
  • Clarisonic Skin Care Brush System is waterproof.

Though it was mainly the reviews on Makeupalley that got me – I saw a review where a girl manually cleaned half her face and used the CM for the other half, and took pictures of how much residue her toner picked up, and there was a really noticeable difference for both sides. And a lot of before/after photos where fairly dramatic.

Also Skinstore is totally awesome – shipping to Australia is only $9.95 (although you can pay for faster postage via Fedex for $29.95).  Anyway, Skinstore emailed me, offering to upgrade my shipping for free since they didn’t want to send it without tracking. Hooray!

Also my Kor water bottles still haven’t arrived. They were returned the first time because Kor sent them to an incorrect address, and although they claim they’ve resent the water bottles, we haven’t received anything. James and I just spent an hour or so printing stuff out and writing timelines so we can file a credit card dispute. We’re pretty sure their customer service/shipping departments aren’t actually trying to rip us off; they’re just incompetent. But still – end result is we have no money and no water bottle, and have spent ages chasing them up because they’re idiots.

Savor soaps

2 Nov

My current bathtime obsession is soaps from Etsy seller, Savor. The scents are so vivid, unlike other soaps I’ve tried, which smell like soap with a little bit of fragrance. The ones I’ve tried so far:

Courtesan – lightly floral
Creme Brulee – smells like it sounds. Very creamy and delicate
Japanese Mango
– smells like wasabi and mango, which sounds weird, but really works
Matcha – green bubble tea!
Pear – just like an overripe pear.

This is Savor’s photo of the pear soap – even the picture looks juicy.


image from Savor


I just made a purchase of some body mists, and bought Japanese Mango and Pear again because they were so utterly delicious. Shipping for 5 sample fragrances was a very reasonable $1. =) The other 3 scents I got were Filthy Cute (white peach, red raspberry with lily and magnolia), Fresh Fig and Almond, and Ginger Crumb Cake (warm and spicy ginger paired with crumbly, buttery crumb cake batter). Yum!

The seller is very professional and quick to reply to convos, which is always a plus. And the soaps aren’t drying, last for ages, and smell delicious. I am seriously swooning at the memory of the pear soap – so luscious, the smell of pears and honey combining with the shower steam to create this incredible pear fog that envelops the bathroom.

I have high hopes for the body mists and will update again when they arrive. =)