Monday, 30 July 2012

All Tressed Up (And Nowhere To Go)

I absolutely love playing around with my hair. I always have. I think it's a bit of a creative outlet for me. So often though (as is the case here) I'll spend a decent little chunk of time and thought creating a look that I'm proud of, only to waste it on a boring ole' work day. Which, to be honest, is a bit of a bummer. At the end of the day the bobby pins come out, and it's completely forgotten about (even by me). So from now on, I'm going to try to make more of an effort to take photos of the hairstyles I create. Well, the ones that particularly strike my fancy.

This look here, is today's concoction. A vague nod to the screen siren's of 1930's. I should probably mention that generally, I don't start styling my hair with the end result in mind. I feel like, if I have a plan, it rarely turns out the way I want it to, and then I get all stressed and flustered. Instead, I like to just pin it in places and see what begins to form. I know that may sound a little strange, but it works for me. To create this look, I used a hair tie, some bobby pins, and some hairspray to set it all with. I started off by brushing my hair into a side pony tail, tying it, and then pulling some bits loose and pinning them. Absolutely no curling required.

Over this past month, I've been craftily trying to disguise my regrowth before my much needed trip to the salon (c'mon Thursday!!). To me, this look actually makes the most of a bad situation. I feel like the dark regrowth gives the style more dimension and has quite a striking effect. I even had a couple of people mention to me that they really liked the two-tone effect. So yay for that! Still - bring on the dye baby!! 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Going...going...gone! July Empties.

'Tis nearly the end of July, my feathered friends! So what better way to celebrate than by rummaging through the my garbage! Yay! Here are the beauty products I've finished over the past month, and a few mini reviews of them. Hopefully they're somewhat helpful or interesting for you to read. If not, this is a post for my own benefit. A nice little way of documenting my thoughts on products I may or may not buy again. Potentially enjoy!

1. Caudalie Cleansing Water (200mls)
So freakin' good! I've been using this cleanser daily over the last couple of months to remove my makeup. As the name suggests, it's a water-like liquid rather than a cream. This works perfectly for me because I definitely prefer a liquid makeup remover to a cream. Especially around sensitive areas like my eyes, where a cream can often find a way of seeping in and stinging me. The sneaky little so and so! To use, you simply soak a cotton pad and wipe it across your face. Easy peezy! No messy rinsing necessary! I'm yet to try this cleanser out on waterproof makeup, so I can't tell you whether it's good in that department. However, I can say that I've found it really effective on non-waterproof makeup. Similar to the Bioderma actually. Plus the smell is fresh and love-er-ly. I did a more detailed review of it here if you're interested.

Would I buy it again? Already have!  

2. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Tropical (150mls)
I'm going to assume that we're all pretty familiar with this brand of dry shampoo. It's perhaps the most affordable and widely available brand. At least for us Aussie chickadees. I don't have any other dry shampoos to compare this too, but I still think it's pretty safe to say that I really like it. It volumises and refreshes my hair when it's not quite looking (or smelling!) it's best. This is by far my favourite scent of the entire range as it smells like fruit and coconut. Yum! My one complaint with this product is that it tends to leave some grey/white colour in your hair if you don't brush it out properly. Also, I think they need to be available in a larger sized cans. 150mls runs out way too quickly if you've got long hair like mine.

Would I buy it again? Yes. 

3. Revlon Nutri-Color Creme in 600 Fire Red (200mls)
These Nutri-Color Creme's are seriously a godsend for those of us with dyed hair. Bright or otherwise. I've already been through two tubes of this stuff it's so good. Basically, this is a pigment depositing treatment which maintains the colour of your hair between salon visits. It also doubles as a conditioning treatment (although, in that department, I honestly think you'd get a slightly better result with something like Redken's All Soft Heavy Creme). After shampooing, you wring your hair out, throw on some gloves (not provided), massage it into your locks, and then comb it through. Then, after 3 minutes, you simply rinse it off. That's it! I should mention, you do have to be a little bit careful when applying this one as it can stain. A small price to pay for the amazing end result though. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that this product is solely responsible for making sure my hair has stayed red over time. Instead of fading into a fluorescent coral pink colour, as it tends to want to do.

Would I buy it again? I have! Several times. I'll definitely be sticking with this one. Although, I'm considering alternating it fortnightly with a Joico or Redken treatment as I think my hair also needs some extra hydration.   

4. MaxFactor Professional Loose Powder in Translucent (15gms)
I don't quite know what to say about this one, other than "it did the job". Translucent powders are hard to review because I feel like the makeup underneath the powder can often alter it's effectiveness. I've never really stuck with one particular powder to tell you the truth. I usually just pick whichever one's on sale. Often switching between MaxFactor, Covergirl or Natio. It wasn't until recently that I decided to lash out and purchase a Laura Mercier setting powder. I can only tell the difference between them in as far as the Laura Mercier one is finer, and therefore looks a little more natural on the face. This MaxFactor one is ok though. It did a pretty good job of setting my makeup, and didn't give me a white cast in photos. So that's definitely a plus. Haha! Helpful, I know.

Would I buy it again? Maybe. I think I'll probably stick with the Laura Mercier one though. I feel like you can't really go wrong with a high-end powder.  

5. Lush Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask (75gms)
I love the Love Lettuce. Really I do. It's a fresh face mask from Lush which contains almond, seaweed and lavender. I wont harp on about it too much as I already did so here, but I will say that this has definitely made it into my theoretical top three Lush products list. Even my boyfriend liked it! 

Would I buy it again? In a heartbeat!

6. Salon Professional Final Net Hairspray in Super Hold (50gms)
I bought this purely on the basis that I needed a mini replacement for my handbag, and this one was the cheapest. I've definitely tried better. It held my hair fine (which I guess, is the main thing), but it was sticky to touch, and smelt unbearably strong and 'hairsprayish'. Even to the point that people were commenting that they could smell it on me. That's never, ever, a good thing. Blah!

Would I buy it again? No. Any recommendations for better options?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

My Dye Dilemma

I absolutely adore my bright-as-a-lobster red hair. But with this colour, comes tremendous responsibility. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind only ever using black towels and pillowcases, shunning red and white clothing (for fear of clashing or staining), or even bleaching the bath from time to time. What really annoys me though, is the DREADED regrowth!

My hair is naturally dark brown. So when my roots start coming through, despite some people saying "I like it better this way", I can't help but want to colour them in with a red texta. The roots, not the people! Sometimes, by twisting and pinning and hair spraying, I can get the two-tone effect to look intentional. Other times, I feel like it's totally out of my control. A horrible brunette patch, intent on making me look like a 11 year old who's attempted to dye her own hair, and botched it up royally.

So about 5 weeks ago, when my brown skunk stripe was really beginning to get on my nerves, I bought a couple of pots of my usual La Riche Directions hair dye in Poppy Red. This time though, instead of buying them for a small fortune from a retailer in the city, I decided to take a chance on an Ebay seller. This particular UK seller was charging a measly AUD $17.85 for both tubs to be purchased and sent to my doorstep. An amazing drop in price from the usual AUD $21.95 per tub (!!!) I pay for them retail.

So with my Ebay purchase finalised, all I had to do was wait a week... another week... another week... ANOTHER week!!
Four long weeks, and still no hair dye!! By this stage, I was sure that Australia Post had lost it. Usually, it doesn't take any longer than ten days for a parcel to find it's way to me from the UK. But of course, I must have wanted this dye a little too much, because fate had other ideas.

I contacted the seller, who promptly reassured me that the dye had definitely been sent, and it was probably an issue with customs. Another week went by, and still - no dye. Meanwhile, I was wearing hats at every possibly opportunity to hide my...ahem...shame! After messaging the seller again, she very kindly, and at no extra cost, sent me some replacement dye. Even though I was extremely grateful for her generosity, I couldn't help but think "oh my God! ANOTHER ten days wait!!!".

So, unable to handle my hideous regrowth any longer, I made the decision to order off an Australian site called Pimp My Eyes. Even though the pots were a lot pricier (AUD $14.95 per pot), I knew that they would get to me quickly, as the site offered free Express Postage. 

Then, as luck would have it, guess what turned up on my doorstep yesterday?!  

Yep. The original package from the Ebay seller, as well as my Pimp My Eyes parcel, arrived at exactly the same time! So I now have four tubs of dye, with another two on the way!

My sweet sweet Directions Hair Dye

Oh boy. At least I know I'm not going to run out any time soon! 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

That's Showbiz Kid!

Just a quick little nail look for you because I absolutely adore it! This is Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Lust-Rous. A dazzling silver and gold glitter (both hex and fine) with an opaque, jet black base. Magical right?! With these babies on, I don't know whether to feel like a show girl or an astro girl!  

I can't help but love these nail polish strips (or 'wraps' as they're often called). I feel like I have more control over the finished look. No polish covered cuticles or patchy spots. Just an absolutely flawless application.

This particular brand I actually liked a little more than others I've tried, because the strips are thinner. I found that this created a more natural look and meant that the ends were much easier to buff off. In fact, I could virtually fold the excess over the tip of my nail and peel it off. I'll have to see whether these last the full 10 days they claim to, but I'm really hoping they pull through. There are so many beautiful designs in the Sally Hansen range, and I'm excited to give some of the others a whirl.

Sparkle Sparkle!  

Friday, 20 July 2012

Op-Shop Treasures

Over the last couple of months I've had zero luck finding anything that I like (or that fits me) at my local op-shops. Heartbreaking - I know. Then the other day, after aimlessly wandering into a Salvos near my work, I miraculously ended up strolling out with a couple of cute finds. Success! The day after, just to see if I could continue to ride the op-shopping wave of lucky finds, I decided to have a browse around the newly renovated Salvos on Chapel St. More success! After two days and two shops I managed to come away with five new pieces for my wardrobe. Not bad for having only parted with 37 of my hard earned dollars. I didn't even have to suffer my usual 'spending money on myself when I'm supposed to be saving' guilt!

So first of all, here's a couple of photos of the wonderful Salvos on Chapel St. While a little pricey for an op-shop (as most Salvos are), it really is a lovely place to shop. It's huge, well stocked, well organised, and presented more like boutique than your usual run-of-the-mill charity shop. I'm definitely planning on making regular trips to this one.

Chapel St Salvos. How sweet is the little mirror?
More of Chapel St Salvos. See how lovely it's laid out?
And now onto the good stuff - the purchases! First up is this cute grey cardigan. The brand is Ladakh (which after a little research, I discovered is an Australian brand). I really love the bow detailing on this one. I think it makes an otherwise fairly plain article of clothing - something special. As you can see, one of the bows is coming undone on the left-hand pocket. Nothing a little DIY stitching can't fix though. I bought this for $8.

Next up is this super stretchy, super comfy racerback tank top. I was immediately drawn to the dusty bright colouring and Aztec print on this one. I think this will definitely be a staple for me in summer. Especially for festivals and concerts. It's so light and flowy and fun. This one set me back a measly $5.

This next piece is definitely my favourite. It's a high-waisted, cotton, Beetlejuice-esque number with a zipper running along the front. The waist is elasticised, so the zipper's just for show. Even though it's a little short, I really like how this one sits on me. The skirt has really cute kick-out to it. It makes me feel like a cartoon character! I can't wait to pair it with some bright stockings. I picked this one up for the slightly steeper price of $14.

Last but not least, I picked up a few basic cardi's. A girl can never have too many, in my opinion! Especially in winter. Plus they were only $5 each. How could I say no?!

While we're on the topic of low low prices, I swung by Dangerfield and took advantage of their 50% accessories sale. After spending perhaps a little too long roaming the store, I decided on two pairs of Onassis sunglasses. I actually don't own any over sized shades, so I thought these would be nice mix things up a little. Plus they were down from $24 to $6 a pair. Crazy! I was pretty smitten with the floral print (pictured below), but also liked the idea of picking up the classic, black, 'goes with anything' pair. So I did! You can't argue with a bargain.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Epic Hauling!

Hi chickpeas! Hope you're all hunky dorey. I thought I'd excitedly share with you the new bits and pieces I have made a home for over the past month or so. It seems like a lot all clumped together, but it's been a bit of a gradual haul. Because I've had some of these things for a little while now, I can actually review some of them as well as simply showing you. It's a helpful haul! Apologies in advance for the fact that this is a super duper photo-heavy post.

Ecoya Reed Diffuser in French Pear
I absolutely love this diffuser. I can't tell you how much. The scent is fresh and sweet, but not too overpowering. That being said, you can really smell it when you first step foot inside our apartment. Which is essentially what I was after when I bought this. I've even had friends comment on how lovely our house smells. To be honest, I've always been a scented candle girl. But I thought I'd give a diffuser a go because, unlike candles, the scent is released 24/7. Which is perfect for someone with (sometimes smelly) pets, like myself. Ecoya is a Melbourne brand too. So I'm all for that. It should be said that these aren't too cheap, at a whopping AUD $59.95. Luckily for me though, I managed to pick up this little baby on sale for AUD $40 from Urban Home Republic. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one full price though. The scent is amazing and they're supposed to last up to 6 months. Totally worth the money in my opinion.

Dove Earings from Lovisa
How sweet are these?! I couldn't resist picking up these little plastic dove studs from Lovisa at Chaddy. They came in an assorted pack of 3 with a pair of little gold hearts and a pair of plain cream faux pearls. Never one to miss a sale, I made the most of Lovisa's 'buy two get one free' deal and also bought some other studs too. But these are my favourite. They remind me of Paloma Faith's dove logo actually.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Edgy Emerald

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Bad To The Bronze
What would an Aussie girl's July haul post be without these little numbers?! Between the rave reviews by international beauty bloggers, the comparisons to MAC Paint Pots (which I love) and the fairly reasonable price tag of AUD $10, I couldn't help but find two of these in my shopping bag. I feel like Bad To The Bronze is a little too muddy to wear on it's own. Sadly, I think I'm too pale for it. It does, however, work quite nicely as a base for a natural eye look. I'm completely smitten with Edgy Emerald though. It seems to work on me as both a shadow, and a base. I wore it the other day with a frosty white eye shadow layered over the top, and it transformed it into a beautiful mint colour. Also, the resistance to creasing with these throughout the day is great. I would even go so far as to say that they're better than the MAC Paint Pots in that respect.

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
I picked up this setting powder from for AUD $43.50 ($20 or so cheaper than buying it retail in Aus). I'd heard so many great things about it, so I was interested to give it a go. Even though my skin's dry to normal - I always powder my face. I like the slightly mattifying effect it creates, and I feel like it's necessary to keep my eyebrow makeup in check. So spending a decent amount of money on a high-end powder, doesn't really phase me. After giving it a burl, I have to say, I really like it. It's lovely and fine, and doesn't look cakey in the slightest. Plus it gives quite a nice glow to the face, if that makes sense. I'm interested to see how it photographs.

Rimmel Lipstick in Birthday Suit & Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie
The Loveheart is Raspberry Pie & the Swirls are Birthday Suit
The Rimmel lippy is from the Lasting Finish collection, and is delightful peachy brown colour. I'm not entirely sure I can pull it off, but I was immediately drawn to it because it reminded me of a darker version of Rimmel's Airy Fairy. I'm a little infatuated with the latter shade, but sadly, I think it's been discontinued here in Aus. So this was my best Rimmel alternative. Also, I finally picked up a Lip Butter! The photo above does a really good job of describing how I feel about it too! Raspberry Pie is definitely one of, if not the only shade from the collection, that I felt I had to have. It's an amazingly vibrant pink/red with medium opacity and a lovely glossy finish. I wont go on about it too much, as I'm sure you're probably sick of hearing about the Lip Butters by now. But yes. I'm a fan of this one. Here 'tis in action. Forgive the somewhat cruddy iPhone quality.   

My Oh My...Raspberry Pie!
Pretty self-explanatory really...
I know this one's a bit of a boring one, but I needed a more moisturising/hydrating body wash now that winter's making my skin unhappy. Even though the smell of Lush's Dirty soap is AMAZING, it was drying out my skin like crazy (I definitely think it's a summer soap). So I decided to go with the trusty Palmers. I can usually rely on Palmers.

Maxfactor Nail Polish in Diva Coral
I saw a similar milky coral shade like this on a customer's nails at work the other day and fell in love with it. So when I saw this for around AUD $6 at Target the other week, I snapped it up in a heartbeat. I haven't tried it yet, but I have high hopes for this one. I suppose you can't really go wrong when you have Sally Hansen's Inst-Dri at your disposal! That top coat makes even the most mediocre polishes lovely.

Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask by Lush
This was actually a repurchase, because I loved this mask so much. I trotted into Lush intending to give another fresh face mask a try, but ended up coming away with this one again. Oops! Well, what can I say? It's great. Sure, it may make me look as though I've just stepped out of a swamp - but it works wonders for my skin. It cleanses, softens, refreshes and even exfoliates (when massaged into the skin before rinsing). As it's recommended for normal to oily skin, I find that I need to apply a moisturiser afterwards. But that's no big deal. I do that after applying a facial mask of any kind. Also, the strong, nutty smell may not be for everyone. Although I quite like it. Like all of Lush's fresh face masks, this was AUD $15.95. Not too bad for a product that will give you roughly four uses.

Lush Buffy Bar & Skin Drink Facial Moisturiser
Still on the topic of Lush, I picked up the exfoliating Buffy body butter for AUD $15.95. It was actually a bit of a last minute purchase (when I was buying the Love Lettuce). I'll probably do a proper review on this one, so I wont say too much about it other than I'm very happy my frivolous spending payed off this time around! The sample of the moisturiser on the right was thrown in by one of Lush's lovely staff. Why are they so damn nice in there?! He recommended it to me when I mentioned that my skin was suffering from the dreaded winter dryness. After giving the Skin Drink a try, I can definitely see where it gets the name. My skin soaks this stuff up like a thirsty sponge! That being said, I wouldn't use this in the day. It's probably a bit too oily for wearing under makeup (plus I like the idea of having SPF in my daytime moisturiser). I can see myself picking this up next time I'm in Lush though. It seems like a really good option for winter.

Almay Clear Complexion Concealer
I bought this concealer purely for shaping my eyebrows. It's a medium to full coverage concealer with a doefoot applicator. I love my Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer for my under-eye circles, but it just wasn't enough coverage for the redness I have across my brows. As it's supposed to aid spots by removing the oil from them, I find that this is a little too drying for me. I'll use it up, but I'll probably try something else after this one. Any suggestions?   

Mary Kay Travel Roll-Up Bag

The compartments are as large as the space between my thumb and my forefinger

Roll up! Roll up!
This was something I'd had my eye on ever since I saw it in Nikki Phillipi's YouTube video on what she packs for travel (I'm a sucker for those sorts of videos). I've seen different variations of these hanging, roll-up, travel bags before, but nothing compares to this one. First of all, it can hold a lot. A definite plus for someone who struggles when it comes to cutting back on toiletries for travel! Secondly, it's an organisational lover's dream. It's got four separate zip-up, clear, plastic pockets which are attached with Velcro and can be removed if need be. I think this is such a great idea because you can simply detach a pocket of say, shower essentials, and take it with you to the the bathroom, rather than having to juggle all the items you need. Perfect for staying in hotels or hostels where the bathroom's outside of the room. The fact that it hangs is also a huge plus for me. And when you need to carry the whole thing around with you, it rolls up and holds it's rectangular shape with some strong Velcro, and has a little handle on the top. Also, let's not forget the fact that it's preeeettttyyyy! Pink satin? I'm on board! I'm sure I'll probably do a little post about how I use this when I pack for my trip later this year. So stay tuned!! For anyone interested in picking this up, I got it from Ebay for AUD $31, including postage and handling, from rapid_deals7711.