Monday, 18 May 2015

New In: Marc Jacobs Beauty

Anyone who has been following me on social media will have seen my allusions to some recent hauling. I have only received about 1/3 of what I've ordered so far (the rest will be coming with my mum in June), but I am nonetheless thrilled to have some new products to play with! As you can see here, I've been bitten by a major Marc Jacobs Beauty bug! Here are six (6!) of the Marc Jacobs Beauty products I recently picked up...and be forewarned that there will be a Marc Jacobs Beauty haul part deux as I'm also waiting on one of the eyeshadow palettes, another eyeliner, one of the new nudes lipsticks, and a contour/highlighter duo.

When Marc Jacobs Beauty first launched, I was not interested in the brand at all. Last summer I gave it another try by picking up one of the Twinkle Pop Eye Sticks in the shade Leila (which I reviewed here). I ended up returning Leila, though, and it wasn't until I tried out a deluxe sample of the Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in 54 Brown(Out) that I found an MJ product that I liked!

L to R: Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Brown(Out), P(Outliner) Long Lasting Lip Pencil in Prim(Rose)
Like quickly turned to love with the Highliner formula—and Brown(Out) became my go-to eyeliner (dark enough to emphasize my lash line, but not as harsh as black, with a smooth application and outstanding wear time). So, naturally I had to order a full size replacement of the Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in 54 Brown(Out) as soon as I used up my deluxe sample.

Top: Le Marc Lip Crème in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang // Bottom: Le Marc Lip Crème in Infamous
I also took advantage of a code to grab a sample of the Le Marc Lip Crème in 216 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a baked rose shade. I've heard lots of people rave about this shade and already know I love the Le Marc Lip Crème formula (see my review of Je T'Aime here). I also bought a full size of the Le Marc Lip Crème in 228 Infamous, a soft peony.

Le Marc Lip Crème in Infamous
I already love Infamous. It is a beautiful and wearable neutral pink, and worn over the P(Outliner) Long Wear Lip Pencil in 304 Prim(Rose) it gives the most beautiful semi-matte '90s lip. The name Prim(Rose) made me think that the shade would be pinker than it is. The colour description, "cocoa spice", is pretty accurate, though—it's a mid-tone pinky brown shade that is very complimentary on my lips! And the formula applies without any dragging or skipping. Lush.

Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Allow Me
I rounded out my lip selections with one of the new Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquers in 302 Allow Me, a rosy shimmer. The Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquers seem to have replaced the Lust for Lacquer formula in the Marc Jacobs Line. I haven't tried this out on the lips yet, but the colour is gorgeous and Temptalia has noted that the formula isn't particularly sticky.

Shape Contour and Blush Brush
And last, but most certainly not least, is the Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15. I cannot express my love for this brush more clearly than this: if you contour, you NEED this brush. It is ludicrously good. It is very soft but also very dense, and it's shape makes for foolproof contouring. I've never had my contour blend so easily as with this brush. Right now I'm using it with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette (reviewed here) but I'm already excited at trying it with the MJ #instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder in Mirage that is on its way to me.

I'll keep you updated with how all of these products perform for me over the coming weeks (and I will certainly follow up when the remainder of my Marc Jacobs items arrive). In the meantime, let me know if you have any Marc Jacobs favourites! Is there anything I need to try out? Let me know below!

And please head to  BloglovinInstagram, and Twitter to follow me!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Why I Went Cruelty Free

A quick disclaimer: The point of this post is to not shame or blame anyone who uses/buys cosmetics from companies who do test on animals. That is a choice that everyone needs to make for themselves and it would be completely impossible in modern life to avoid supporting (through $$$ or €€€ or £££) corporations who engage in unsavoury practices, whether it is testing on animals, exploiting workers, harming the environment, etc. We all make choices about the causes that we want to support and no one is perfect. I certainly am not.

My childhood dog, Danny, who was the sweetest and most affectionate dog ever.
If you didn't fall in love with him instantly, you were dead inside. 
Ok, now that I have stepped down from my soapbox I should explain that earlier this year I decided that I would no longer purchase items from brands who engaged in animal testing on their products. My reasons for making this choice were numerous. I am a pescetarian (meaning that I eat fish and seafood, but not other meat), so the idea of going CF seemed like a natural extension of the many reasons why I don't consume meat. Namely that I adore animals. In particular, I'm a fan of my childhood dog—a rescued cocker spaniel that we had from when I was 5 until about 18—and my 3 rescue kitties. I could not imagine their lives if they faced the sad fate of being kept in cages, deprived of human contact and love, and having products tested on them every day of their lives. To me, beauty is not worth the cruel treatment of animals.

My current #1 girl, Maleficent aka Millie (aka Plumpy Nut)
In setting the boundaries of my own personal 'rules' for going Cruelty Free, I decided that any item that I had already bought would be fair game to use, however, which is why I still have a lot of non-Cruelty Free (CF) products on my blog. Additionally, I've decided that for me personally, I'm ok with buying items from a brand that doesn't do animal testing, even if their parent company does. For example, I won't buy a Shiseido product, but I would buy something by NARS. Maybe someday that will change, but for now, that's where I stand.

Count Oliver von Pickles, also known as Pickle Face
Anyways,  an added bonus of choosing to be CF in 2015 is that there are a huge range of beauty and skincare brands that are cruelty free. If you associate CF products with substandard quality, you could not be more wrong. Over the past ten or so years, the number of organic, cruelty free, and luxurious brands has proliferated.

My newest kitten addition, Rabbie. This little bear is a monster, but I'm grateful to have
rescued him from the streets nonetheless. Let's hope he grows out of his demon phase.
That's not to say it is always easy to stick to my guns. I've waved goodbye to my beloved YSL, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain, Giorgio Armani, etc. And I've not been perfect--I just used up the last of my holy grail Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and I caved during the recent Sephora sale and bought a replacement. I do feel guilty, but I'm also human (and I'm not living in a place where I can test out new CF foundations).

But one huge bonus of my new Cruelty Free status is that it is a fantastic excuse to try out some new brands. Currently at the top of my list are:

Kjaer Weis: side note—I ordered the Radiance Highlighter recently and will be reviewing it soon! Maeve over at Lilting Grace has made me want all of the Kjaer Weis, though, so I'm sure more purchases will be happening in the near future

Wayne Goss: Goss's brushes, available on Beautylish, are made from real hair. But they are certified cruelty free. I've ordered 2 eyebrushes so far, and I'm super excited to review them soon.

Ilia Beauty:  I've got my eye on their lipstick in Pink Moon. It is a gorgeous shade and the formula looks like it is super creamy and super opaque!

For those interested, I normally check whether a brand is cruelty free on their own website or on one of the following:

Have you ever considered going cruelty free or are you currently cruelty free? Please share your thoughts and experiences below! And head to BloglovinInstagram, and Twitter to follow me!

Monday, 4 May 2015

April Favourites

I will be the first to admit that I did an obscene amount of hauling during the month of April. But as I wait for all of my new goodies to arrive to the Balkans, I've reached for some oldies, but goodies all month long. Because the weather has finally turned into spring, a lot of what I've been using (+ loving) all month long are light and fresh products. In no particular order, my favourites during April have been:

YSL Glossy Stain in 106 Beige Anarchist: I have at least 6 of the YSL Glossy Stains in my collection, but this is easily the most wearable. It adds a very subtle warm peachy-pink shimmer to my lips, making it easy to slap on with just about any makeup look. It is rare that such subtle lip colours have good lasting power, but the YSL Glossy Stains never disappoint me in that department. Two layers of this will last most of the day before I need to reapply. Available at Sephora for $36.

NEST Eau de Parfum in Midnight Fleur: I've had Midnight Fleur in my collection for about a year (it's also one of my mother's favourites!) but I've really been enjoying wearing it this spring. With notes of exotic wood, black amber, patchouli, jasmine, and vanilla orchid, Midnight Fleur is much sweeter than most of the other fragrances I own. But it is simply heavenly to wear. Perhaps when the weather properly heats up I will want a fresher fragrance, but for now, I haven't been able to resist wearing this almost every single day. 1.7 oz bottle available at Sephora for $68.

YSL Crème de Blush in 2 Powdery Rose: One of the most disappointing things I learned in 2014 was that YSL was discontinuing their Crème de Blush formula for the new Kiss & Blush line. I've raved about the Crème de Blushes here and here, so when I heard they were discontinued, I picked up a few more. I adore the formula of these blushes (pigmented, but easy to blend, long wearing, luminous on the skin but not at all shimmery/glittery, etc.) so if you can still get your hands on any of the shades, I highly recommend you do so. The YSL website has shade 9 (the only one left) available here.  Powdery Rose is a beautiful neutral pink that is ideal for spring.

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in 54 Brown(Out): Besides a Twinkle Pop in the shade Leila (reviewed here), I had never tried a Marc Jacobs Beauty product until I got a deluxe sample of Brown(Out). It is a deep brown with a bronze shimmer throughout (t reminds me of a Tony & Tina eyeliner that I bought at Sephora well over 15 years ago!) I've recently ordered some additional Highliners, and if they are half as good as Brown(Out), I will be one happy camper. Brown(Out) never smudges—even on my oily lids—and the deep brown is much more flattering on me than black. I often see the Highliners pop up as 100 point perks on I strongly recommend you try one out the next time it is available—or just take the plunge and buy a full size at for $25.

Omorovicza Copper Peel: Omorovicza is a luxury skincare line that boasts healing properties from the minerals of Hungary. The Copper Peel is pricey, to be sure, but whenever my skin is feeling dull or lackluster, this sorts it right out without being too harsh! The Copper Peel is a two-stage process: step 1 is to apply the copper paste and step 2 requires you to massage the copper activator into the skin. I managed to buy a pack with a 'single' use for around $16. The 'single' use has actually lasted me at least 3 or 4 applications, so the high price doesn't seem so bad as it is spread out over multiple uses. A '4 Applications' pack is $85 at Sephora.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourites for this month? Let me know below. And head to BloglovinInstagram, and Twitter to follow me!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Becca Ombré Nudes Eye Palette

Becca Ombré Nudes Eyeshadow Palette
Normally I reserve my blog space to rave about beauty products that I have loved. My obsessive research and swatching usually pays off, so it is rare that I end up with a product that I don't like. But the Becca Ombré Nudes Eye Palette was a bit of an impulse purchase. Last autumn I had seen that it would be hitting the shelves soon and when I spotted it in store shortly before moving half away across the world, I thought a simple all matte palette from Becca would be a home run! So, into my cart it went and the rest, as they say, is history. 

To clarify: I don't hate the Ombré Nudes Palette. I am just completely indifferent to it. Part of the problem is that I'm currently in a shimmer/satin/glitter eyeshadow phase, so the matte neutrals of this palette simply don't excite me. Part of it is that I don't find the color payoff of this palette to be good at all. It takes a lot of building up the lighter colors before my lids look anything but bare, and the darker shades require a lot of buffing in order to not look patchy. And ain't nobody got time for that.

Swatched in the same order as in the pan (the lightest shade is hard to see as it is close to my skintone)
In all fairness, Becca notes that this palette can be used as more than just an eyeshadow palette—it can be used to fill in the brows, as an eyeliner (although an eyeshadow that can double as an eyeliner is hardly revolutionary), or even as a face contour palette. I haven't ventured to use the palette as anything but eyeshadow yet, so perhaps I will fall in love with using it in another way. 

Until then, however, unless you are dying for a matte neutral brown palette, I think you can safely skip this one. I've heard great things about the TooFaced Natural Matte Eyeshadow Palette, for example. But if you must, it is available at Sephora for $40.

Have you tried the Becca Ombré Nudes Palette yet? If you do and you love it, is there something I missing? Let me know below and don't forget to head to BloglovinInstagram, and Twitter to follow me!