Beauty Dish: May Favourites


I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough products to rave about this month since I’m still pretty stuck into the ones I mentioned last month, but I managed to pull out a few that I’d been overlooking my excessive use of this past month. There’s less makeup because I’m still really into the stuff I’ve mentioned in the past – in fact, I went out and repurchased another bottle of this foundation because I can not live without it (and at $10 a bottle in Oz, why try?). As my skin gets clearer, it’s perfect for using just a thin layer to even out complexion and tone, so I’m betting it’s gonna be a favourite of mine for a long time. But this month it’s more about the less on in your face products that I think are the unsung heroes of my beauty life. Every girl loves those items, right? To tell you what’s good, I’ve laid out my favourites below for you so you can try ‘em all out yourself if you’re interested. Have you got any products that you think are better? Do share friends!

Clear Shampoo and Conditioner – I’m not the kind of girl who likes to splurge on shampoo and conditioner because I hate to wash expensive stuff down the drain. I will totally admit that I got sucked in by Miranda Kerr in the Clear ads (her hair is the. best.), but I don’t regret it one bit. The Clear shampoo is super hydrating for my dry hair, and really lathers well and makes my hair feel super clean. The Clear conditioner works even better than my argan oil deep conditioning treatment, which shocked me since the Clear conditioner isn’t even a heavy duty treatment. I’m already on my third set of bottles of this duo, and I’ve tried both the total nourishing care and this moisturising formula and love them both (and now mix them together). I highly recommend this shampoo/conditioner if you’re looking for something to give you great hair without breaking the bank!

Essie ‘Little Brown Dress’ – This nail polish has been on my toes all month, and I’m obsessed with it. It’s obviously winter here in Australia, and as such I’ve been crazy for dark polishes. I bought Little Brown Dress a few years ago thinking it would be a good winter colour that’s not quite as gothic as a black would be, and I was definitely right! The deep chocolate colour is perfect for this time of year, and I’m probably going to pull a double and repaint my toes with it next time they need a change. If you haven’t got this polish or something similarly chocolate-y, get on it!

Sally Hansen ‘Hard As Nails’ – It’s no secret around here that I never pay for a manicure, and instead prefer to do it all myself. Many people argue that manicures from the salon last longer than when they do it at home, but not me. My secret weapon is this top coat from Sally Hansen, which I discovered years ago and have since gone through about 5 bottles of. Hard as Nails is a thick and glossy topcoat that dries unbelievably fast (dry to touch in about 5 minutes, fully set in about an hour) and gives you a glossy-looking manicure for waaaay less money than at the salon. And did I mention it’s ridiculously chip resistant? With one coat of this on top of my colour, I can make my nails last for 5 days chip-free. But if you want to drag it out even longer, do another topcoat about 3-4 days into your manicure and you’ll have no problem going a week without a polish change. If you hate chipped nail polish as much as I do, you have to try this stuff out. And at only $8 a bottle ($4-5 in North America!), I promise your wallet will thank you for it.

L’Oreal Infallible Gel Laquer (in navy) – I bought this gel liner after my MAC fluidline dried up a year ago and I needed a replacement. I wasn’t expecting much for something that was a quarter of the price, but damn! This is possibly one of the best gel liners I’ve ever used – it stays put, it draws on so silky and smooth, and the pigmentation is such that you don’t have to keep tracing over and over to get something dark enough to be seen. I have this one in blue, because that’s the only one that I could find before I moved overseas, but when I go back home I’ll definitely be stocking up on more colours. There is a reason they were sold out last year, so if you’re looking for a gel liner that’s as good as Bobbi Brown and MAC, but doesn’t cost you near as much, you definitely need to pick this one up stat.

Backcomb Brush – My hair is long, abundant, and quite fine, which means that I if it’s left air dried it goes flat on top and poufs out at the bottom (I like to call this ‘triangle head’ – so cute). I flatiron it to keep the triangle under control, but when it comes to my roots, there’s just no amount of volumising spray that can pump those babies up. I used to use a rattail comb to backcomb, but that would inevitably fall flat as soon as I stepped out the door. When I finally decided to invest in a real backcombing brush last year, it was like a miracle walked in the door and sat on the crown of my head! I know that backcombing is not the healthiest thing for your hair, but I’d honestly rather have flyaways on top than limp and lifeless roots, so for me, this brush is a total godsend. I spray sections of my roots with hairspray (I use this one and swear by it), then backcomb a few times and move onto the next section. In total it takes me about 4 minutes in the morning, and my volume stays all day without fail. Best part? This one from Revlon is only $4 (uh, much better than the $20 I paid for mine). Flat haired ladys have to share their secrets to Gretchen Weiners hair, and that’s mine. Get on it, triangle heads unite!

Keepin It Natural

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I’ve always been the kind of girl who has a fairly large makeup collection. It’s nothing that rivals those girls of the youtube tutorials, who’ve got entire rooms dedicated to cosmetics, but even after culling a huge portion of my collection when I moved to Australia, I’ve still got (and kept collecting more of) a lot of cosmetics. What can I say? I love a good 7am transformation.

Looking at my collection, one could probably assume that I wear a heap of makeup in my everyday life. Truth be told, I actually really dislike wearing any sort of foundation (although I am a huge fan of BB creams, contrary to what I said in this post… the breakouts mentioned back then were due to a birth control switch and not my makeup!). I only started wearing foundation when my skin started going pre-teen in April of last year. I’m still on meds right now to fix it all for good, and when I do, you can bet I’ll be retiring my foundations for use at special occasions only!

My staple makeup items, and the ones I always hoard, have always been a good mascara (note that ‘good’ doesn’t mean expensive. My favourite mascaras are from Cover Girl and Maybelline), eyeliner on the outer upper eye, some brow filling-in (thanks to my 16 year old self plucking to kingdom come), and under eye concealer. That’s it.

Since summer is just around the corner I’m looking forward to simplifying my makeup routine a little bit more, which is also pretty necessary to survive the crazy heat here. It basically turns my face into a beige and black mess pretty quickly, and no amount of blotting papers is ever going to change that. I’m all about the carefree summer look, rocking a (safe) tan and not much else. The photos above are my major inspiration for this spring/summer – the girls just look so beautiful, simply done, and perfectly sun kissed. And I feel like Karlie Kloss never looks overdone. Girl is a b.a.b.e.

This year, in comparison to last, I’m so happy that I’ll be able to head oceanside with a complexion that I can be proud of sans makeup. I mentioned my skin issues many times before here, and it’s been a huge source of stress and self-consciousness in the past year. Finally I can have a carefree summer filled with sun, sunscreen of course, sand, and my newest favourite sport, surfing! I can’t wait for Melbourne to start heating up for good, at which point I’ll relegate my foundations to the back of my drawers and happily bust out the sunscreen instead. What will you be retiring for summertime? Or have you found a way to keep your makeup in place despite the heat?? Tell me your secretsssss.

Beauty Dish: August/September Favourites

It’s been ages since I’ve written one of these posts, and I’m so pumped to be able to share some of my beauty faves from the past few months with you again! In complete contradiction to this post, I’ve actually picked up the use of eyeshadow in my day-to-day makeup again, mostly due to the fact that I finally found the colour (a coppery-red) I’d been searching for in the drug stores for months! And it was on sale: meant to be I’d say. As usual, I’ve also got a few nail polish favourites, which is to be expected from the massive eBay haul I purchased a few months ago. Nail polish in Australia, no matter where you go, is always minimum 20$ a bottle, even for Revlon. So Aussie girls, if you want fair prices for your polish (like $4 a bottle), check eBay. The seller I used is this one; super fast and tons of selection!

++ Estee Lauder Eyeshadow Duo in Raisins – I fell in love with the colour of this eyeshadow duo after watching this favourites video months ago, but kind of relegated it a fantasy item because I couldn’t really justify the price ($50+ here in Oz). But after finding it on sale I pulled the pin, and I’ve been wearing it nearly every day since. The light colour is really nice and shimmery, which I wash over my entire lid, and then I use my pencil brush to put the darker colour in my crease. I love the contrast of the two colours and prefer a bit of a cut crease look, and I find the colour payoff of these two shadows is nothin but a dream. If you can afford it (or find it on sale!) I would definitely say that this eyeshadow duo is worth having, because I’ve never seen such a pretty purple colour in another eyeshadow before. And on a more superficial note, how cute is the packaging!

++ MAC Eyeshadow Duo in On The Hunt – I’ve been searching for a coppery colour like MAC’s Raving Mad (on the right) for ages, thinking it would be really pretty for summertime. It kind of looks like a sunset colour doesn’t it? It feels like the perfect shade for a dressed up night out on a patio bar in the summer, which is exactly the way I intend to spend many a night over the coming season. I bought this Maybelline palette a few months ago thinking back then that I’d found what I was looking for, but it turned out to be a bit greyish and not so copper. The MAC duo has filled the void left by Revlon, and the glittery colour is really nice to darken up my eyelid crease a bit more for nighttime. After finally finding the perfect copper eyeshadow, I can confidently say that my eyeshadow collection is complete. Well, for now.

++ Quo Crease Blender Brush – This brush came in a set that I bought back in Canada, and I never really used it until I started applying more than one eyeshadow shade to my eyes. It’s an essential one for me to put the colour in my crease, and then I use one a bit fluffier to blend everything out. If you’re not really an eyeshadow girl, or if you’re fine with just one colour washed all over your lids, I’d say you probably don’t need this brush. But if you enjoy mixing and matching and playing picasso with your eyes, I think this brush type is definitely worth the investment. I think this one is worth about 15$ from Shoppers Drug Mart back home (here’s a similar one that’s even cheaper), so it doesn’t have to break the bank at all either!

++ MAC Lip Lustre in Sophisto – I never used to be a lipstick girl, sticking instead to balms only. But for some reason I was inspired to pick a few lipsticks up before leaving Canada last year, so I bought this one and Vegas Volt from MAC. I am so obsessed with the subtle darkness that Sophisto brings to my lips – it’s not too dramatic, and it doesn’t scream “I’m wearing lipstick!”, which is exactly what I want. It’s just a bit of colour that makes your whole ensemble look a bit more glamorous, and I think it perfectly takes a daytime/office makeup face to amped-up-for-evening in a few swipes of colour. It was a perfect shade to wear for the lipstick newbie like myself, and I’d highly recommend it to someone else in the same boat. But buy it online if you’re from Aus – prices here are 2-3x what they are in North America!

++ Nivea Repair & Protection Lip Balm – I’m not quite finished my course of accutane, which has really cleared up my skin but done a number on my lips – accutane usually gives users dry skin (which I never experience on it), but can also make your lips dry and super peely (think onion skin, blech). I’ve gone through so many tubes of lip balm lately, but the one I found to be the absolute best is the Nivea Repair & Protection. I like that it has SPF30 in it, because I’m extremely susceptible to cold sores when my lips get exposed to the sun. But that’s only an added bonus. I found that the dryness and peeling caused by the accutane, which is literally impossible to stop when you’re on the meds, is drastically reduced with regular application of the Nivea balm. The fact that I’ve gone through four tubes in the past 3 months can attest not only to how annoying this side effect is (but it’s worth it for clear skin I think), but to the quality and effectiveness of the product. Imagine what it can do for non-medicated lips!

++ Essie Nail Polish in Fear or Desire – Another product that had been on my hit list for months has been the perfect tangerine nail colour. I’ve scoured many a drug store and website looking for it, and finally I found it in Essie’s Fear or Desire. I know I’ve raved about Essie before (I’ve got more than 20 Essie polishes), but they’re one of my favourite brands of nail polish. Their colours are generally quite opaque, have great staying power, and this particular colour really is exactly the tangerine-orange I was hunting for! If you can’t find this one in your local shop, definitely head online or to eBay – this colour is going to be my summer holy grail, I can feel it!

++ Butter London Nail Polish in Cheeky Chops – There’s something about Butter London polish that just feels so classy, and I don’t know why. I bought a bunch of their polishes online recently (for $12 a pop, which isn’t cheap as far as polish goes, but it’s not the 20$ retail I always see in stores), and Cheeky Chops has been another one I’ve been wanting to buy for a while. It’s such a pretty, vibrant yellow that again is perfect for the summer upon those of us down under. It’s been on my toes for the entire month, and has pretty good staying power in that respect. While I can’t say that all BL polishes have excellent stay power (I also have this colour, which did chip after 3-4 days, but is still too pretty not to wear), you can definitely extend it with my favourite top coat (also mentioned here). In combination, they’re unstoppable and – you guessed it – perfect for summer. Now all I need is the sunshine!