Oscars 2014 beauty roundup

I love watching the Oscars not only to find out who won what award, but also for the flawless makeup and gorgeous gowns donned by celebrities.

For the most part, celebrities like Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz and Sandra Bullock kept the focus on their eyes with a subtle smokey look, false lashes and a nude lip, while Emma Watson, Kerry Washington and Amy Adams opted for a brighter lip colour (in shades of red, plum and orange) and kept the rest of the face minimal.

Here are my favourite beauty looks:

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6 of the best bronzers

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Bronzers are essential makeup items for most people as they have the ability to liven up a dull complexion and impart that healthy, sunkissed glow most of us aren’t born with. For me, bronzer is perfect for adding colour back into the face after applying foundation and powder and for evening out any noticeable difference in colour between the neck and face.

But not all bronzers are made alike. There are 3 things I need in a bronzer: it needs to be matte, non-orangey and not too dark or light. The best bronzer on me is usually a medium toned brown with minimal orange undertones.

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6 purple-toned lipsticks

I think I have an obsession with purple.

Here are my top 6 picks:

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From left to right:

Fresh tinted lip treatment in Sugar Plum – a hydrating, translucent formula that deposits a black cherry tinted hue on lips. It also smells delightful!

Maybelline lipstick in Plum Wine – cool toned mauve with a satin finish, my go-to for a natural plum lip!

NARS velvet matte lip pencil in Damned – a matte, bold and slightly vampy purple. Stays on a long time but is slightly drying.

Chantecaille lip chic in Damask – hydrating berry lip colour with a shiny finish. Slightly gloopy texture that can bleed outside the lip line which is a bummer but the colour is too beautiful to pass up!

Tom Ford lip colour in Bruised Plum – a very dark and elegant berry shade (cool toned) with a satin finish. Luxurious packaging!

Australis colour inject mineral lipstick in Can Can – dark purple that comes off as a vampy reddish hue when applied, extremely hydrating and leaves a stain on the lips.

 

Favourite eyeshadow palettes

My favourite palettes
Tom Ford matte eyeshadow, 85 AUD / Christian Dior palette eyeshadow, 66 AUD / Urban Decay cosmetic, 24 AUD / Lancôme palette eyeshadow, 54 AUD / LORAC palette eyeshadow, 46 AUD / Urban Decay matte eyeshadow, 30 AUD / Glitter eye makeup, 2.19 AUD / Bobbi Brown Cosmetics beauty product, 66 AUD / Stila beauty product, 33 AUD
Why I love these palettes:
These eyeshadow palettes have 2 things in common: silky smooth eyeshadows that spread beautifully with minimal fallout; and the carefully curated range of colours in each palette.
I love nude and natural palettes like the Urban Decay Naked Palette and the Naked Basics, but I do love when an unexpected pop of colour is included as well – like the Stila In the Garden palette and Bobbi Brown’s Nude & Navy Palette.
Also, a good mix of shimmery and matte shadows always catch my eye!

My new makeup dresser

I’m pleased to show off my new vanity/dresser set up! I’ve never had a proper sit down dresser in my life where I could do my makeup and hair in the morning, so I’m really excited to have one finally!

It’s really a space where I can chill out, work on my computer (updating this blog, among other things) and get ready for bed. And putting on my makeup in the morning, of course!

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Desk: Ikea Malm Dressing Table, $199
Chair: Ikea Lillhojden Swivel Chair in Grey Patterned, $89
Mirror: Ikea Tysnes mirror $29
Clear drawers: Officeworks Keji 4 Drawer Desktop File, $14.95
Makeup brush holder: Ikea garden pot, $1.95 (Similar Ikea one here)

I absolutely love all the stuff I got, especially the clear plastic drawers! I had wanted the Muji acrylic ones that everyone is talking about on the Internet, but obvs they don’t ship to Australia and are quite expensive anyway! I’m so glad to have found these Keji ones from Officeworks :)

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My half-eaten jam toast covered in fresh strawberries…

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A cup of refreshing green tea served in a Maxwell & Williams dainty bird print teacup…

And a chocolate fudge scented candle burning in the background… (It’s also from Ikea – $7.95 for a set of 3!)

Hope you liked this brief makeup storage/dresser tour!

Roundup of best eyebrow kits

I’ve been obsessed with brow grooming lately, more so than usual. I don’t feel complete without a neat, but not perfectly shaped, brow. It’s a complex art, I know… you want to avoid that dreadful tattooed on brow look where the eyebrow is thin, overplucked and flat. You also want to avoid filling in your brows with a colour that doesn’t match your natural hair. What you want are natural and healthy looking eyebrows that frame your face and imparts an air of confidence and intelligence.

Okay, so that might sound a bit far fetched, but the basic idea is that a good eyebrow polishes off your entire look. You can have a perfectly made up face but if your eyebrows are sparse, patchy or light, it will throw the whole look off.

Case in point – Olivia Wilde in 2003 (Image from Allure magazine June 2013 issue)

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… and now:

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With this in mind, I’m going to present an eyebrow kit roundup – including some I have tried and some that have just caught my eye.

1. Bobbi Brown Dark Brown Brow Kit ($90)

Bobbi Brown Dark Brow Kit

What it comes with: two powder eyeshadows, mini tweezers and mini brow brush. The dark brow kit version includes Saddle and Mahogany shadows (Saddle is my personal favourite). You can find this at the Bobbi Brown website or at Myer/David Jones.

What I like about this: The mirror on the underside of the lid swings out to reveal a magnifying mirror behind! Also, the eyeshadows are high quality and looks very natural.

What I don’t like about this: The price – I get more than just a few raised eyebrows when I tell customers how much it costs…

2. Lunasol Brow Styling Compact

Lunasol brow styling compact

I’m not sure what the price is, it wasn’t on the Lunasol website but it’s one of the higher end Japanese brands. It comes with 4 powder eyebrow shades, a dual ended brow brush and an eyeshadow applicator. Four colours seems a little excessive for an eyebrow, but the pale ivory shade is supposed to highlight the browbone while the other 3 colours are supposed to fill in the brow with a 3D “gradating effect”.

What I like about this: The lighter shades can be used as eyeshadows.

What I don’t like about this: Too many shades!

3. Benefit Brow Zings (US$30 but probably more in Australia)

Benefit Brow Zings

This little kit comes with a brown wax to keep hairs in place, and a powder to fill and set eyebrows. There are also tweezers, a hard angle brow brush and a blending brush.

What I like about this: It comes with wax!

What I don’t like: I would have preferred a spoolie brush instead of a blending brush to comb through the hairs.

4. Urban Decay Brow Box (US$29)

Urban Decay brow box

Urban Decay’s version is a purple plastic case with a metallic cover. Inside, it comes with 2 powder eyebrow shades, wax, tweezers, 2 angled brow brushes and 2 mirrors.

What I like about this: A lot of things! The fact that it comes with wax and has 2 mirrors (one is magnifying) as well as the cute packaging.

What I don’t like: It can be a little bulky. It fits into the palm of your hand, yes, but it’s rather tall!

Note: This brand isn’t available in Australia but there are sites such as beautybay.com that will ship to Australia :)

5. Sephora Eyebrow Editor Complete Brow Kit (US$19)

Sephora Eyebrow Editor

I love the design of this one! It comes with 2 brow powders, setting wax, tweezer, spoolie brush and angled brow brush. It also comes in shades for light, medium and dark hair.

What I like about this: It’s an all in one kit with the perfect type of brushes that I like to use.

What I don’t: If the eyebrow powder is too powdery or doesn’t last, if the wax is too shiny, and if the angle brush isn’t stiff enough. (These are all if’s though, as I haven’t tried it!)

6. Too Faced Brow Envy Brow Shaping & Defining Kit (US$35)

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Wow… This kit is like the ultimate dream for any brow-obsessed individual! It contains wax, 2 brow powders in Blonde and Brunette, a highlighter shade, tweezers, 2 brushes, 3 stencils, a brow pencil (dark brown) and a step by step guide.

What I like about it: It’s a pretty indulgent brow experience, and I love the little pullout drawer. Perfect for displaying on the dresser! Also, the highlight is a nice touch.

What I don’t: It’s a one size fits all kit, there are no specific editions for dark haired girls and light haired girls. I also wouldn’t use the stencils as I have mine shaped professionally. Also it’s bulky and not good for travel, but I don’t think this is made for travel anyway :)

7. Milani Brow Fix ($13.95 from CrushCosmetics.com.au)

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According to the Crush Cosmetics website, this comes with 7 essential tools: “Straight edged tweezers, slanted brow filler brush, brow bone sponge applicator, 3X magnifying mirror, brow bone highlighter and two tone-on-tone powders (light & dark) to fill and shape brows”.

What I like about this: It has a stand up applicator holder that’s so cute! Also, the price is great!

What I don’t: The darkest version looks like it would be too light for my eyebrows, plus I don’t really like sponge tipped applicators. The packaging also looks cheap (it is a drugstore brand anyway, so I can’t really hold that against Milani).

8. Face Shop Face It Designing Cake Eyebrow 

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Again I’m not sure how much this is as it wasn’t online, but there is a store in the Perth CBD (and one in Melbourne Central) in case anyone wants to know… Anyway, it comes with 2 powders, a spoolie and an angled brush. Nothing too special but just the basics.

What I like about this: A nice basic kit for those who don’t want to mess around with wax if they’re in a hurry. Also, the Face Shop is generally quite affordable (my thoughts are that this set is below $25)

What I don’t like about this: No wax, although that isn’t really a big deal.

9. Le Sourcil de Chanel ($49)

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I’m surprised at the price – not bad, considering it’s Chanel! It comes with 3 powders, an angled brush, a flat spoolie and tweezers.

What I like about this: The packaging and the fact that it comes with a magnifying mirror. Also, the powders are mineral pigments.

What I don’t: From the picture it seems as if the third shade has a green tinge, which I don’t particularly like. Maybe it’s different in real life?

10. Lancome Le Regard Pro Eye Brow Expertise Kit

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This actually looks a lot nicer than the Chanel kit! It comes with 4 powders (one is a highlight shade), tweezers and a double ended applicator.

What I like about this: It’s really sleek and slim, packaging is a major plus point. Also, the tweezers are actually full size, and from the reviews I have read so far, the tweezers perform quite well. The double ended brush is also a great idea and the flat brush side can be used to apply eyeshadow.

What I don’t: I probably won’t have much use for the third shade, which is more suited to blondes, but it could be easily used as a matte eyeshadow. Also, the darkest shade may not be dark enough for me (I have black hair).

 

So.. which brow kit will you pick? Or will you stick with the good old brow pencil?

 

Winter style updates

Cold weather doesn’t have to mean dowdy layers, baggy jumpers and a makeup-free face. You can still be stylish with a few key pieces this winter by adding a twist to basics.

That means amping up basics such as the trench coat, the leather boots and the grey scarf. It means bringing some colour to the face by way of a rosy blush, wine-coloured lipstick and season-appropriate eyeshadows.

Of course, winter is the only time when you can eat your fill without remorse (and without the extra pounds showing, too) but that’s another story!

winter style updates

Oasis skater skirt, 74 AUD / French Connection , 95 AUD / Jigsaw peter pan collar sweater, 145 AUD / DKNY leather trenchcoat, 1 170 AUD / J.Crew long skirt, 64 AUD / Mid calf leather boots, 145 AUD / Zara handbag, 21 AUD / Kate Spade scarve, 72 AUD / Jigsaw beret hat, 48 AUD / NARS Cosmetics , 31 AUD / Stila eyeshadow, 21 AUD / Bare Escentuals , 19 AUD

Stylish travel makeup bags

Lately I’ve been obsessed with makeup pouches and bags, particularly those for travel. Why settle for a boring PVC case when you jazz it up with cute patterns and stylish designs? Here are my picks.

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