my 2017 makeup highlights …and lowlights

Every year I find myself feeling the same way: how has another year come to a close without me even realising?

And since every year seems to fly by faster, in order to remind myself that I didn’t just miss an entire year, I spend some time reflecting.

Part of this reflection, for me, included a slow scroll through the best way I know how to record things – my Instagram feed. And so I present to you, in a totally self-serving and self-indulgent sort of a way, my very own highlights and lowlights of 2017.

Sugar Cube Co: Sugar Scrubs

You guys knew this had to be on here. I received this for Christmas in 2016 and it totally blew my mind. Sugar Cube Co is a small, Christchurch business run by two hard working girls (Bex and Kath) collectively known as the “Sugar Cube Co Girls” and they have poured so much love into this product that you can’t help but love it too. 2017 was also the year that I tentatively dipped my toes into the world of fake tanning and found their Sugar Scrubs to be the best thing to accompany it. You can scrub literally right before you tan, there’s no need to wait 24 hours, and it gives you the smoothest application. I’ve written a more in depth blog post about sugar scrubs and how they’re better for your skin than other scrubs and you can see that here.

Coincidentally, they have given me a code to give you guys 15% off (it’s MICHE) but just remember that I fell in love with the brand before we started working together so you know it’s real.

Goodness Products

Oh my Goodness, do I love this stuff and so do all of the clients I’ve recommended it to. Most of us have spent our whole lives being told to strip oil from our skin because oil is bad and will cause acne and as a result we have stressed out, frazzled skin that’s screaming out for some TLC (that’s tender, loving chia). I started using Goodness in May and I honestly haven’t looked back. I have had some hormonal issues which have led to me supplementing my skincare regime with a very gentle acne fighting product however I still use Goodness to remove my makeup, pre-cleanse in the shower and moisturise. The packaging is goals, Goodness is cruelty free, and the whole range is cheap as chips from the supermarket. Honestly, what more could you want?

Huda Beauty: Mauve Obsessions

We all know I was a big fan of the Rose Gold palette in 2016 but I can tell you, hand on heart, that this palette is her best work yet. So creamy, so blendable, so pigmented. It may be half the size but it beats out Desert Dusk for a spot in my list as every single shade is bang on point.

Essie: Gel Couture range

I didn’t think I could love Essie any more than I already did, and then Gel Couture came to New Zealand. Honestly, what a formula. I found that with the old Essie polishes, I could get up to two weeks withoutย muchย chipping or wear and tear. With these, I get next to none. Even on my weird index finger that I apparently hit the keyboard too aggressively with as it splits and peels in a way that none of my other fingernails do. A couple of coats of Gel Couture and those splits and peels are sealed in and protected and it doesn’t chip at all.

Pretty in pink ๐Ÿ’•

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Colourpop: eyeshadow palettes

Holy moly, what a game changer. I am genuinely amazed that they can produce palettes of this quality for such a low price. I broke my no-neutral-palettes rule because I just knew I needed one of these for my every day palette. They blend out so beautifully and smoothly and they’re so pigmented and vivid. I am well and truly shook.

And now it’s time for the lowlights… the products that I will be quite happily leaving behind in 2017. Au revoir. Peace out.

Kylie Cosmetics: Royal Peach palette

I only bought this out of curiosity and… wow. The Royal Peach palette was such a disappointment I actually gave it away. First of all, it absolutelyย reekedย of an acrid chemical glue smell. It was chalky, hard to blend and had more fall out than Paramore in 2010. Goodbye and good riddance. You can see my full, honest review here.

Too Faced: Natural Love palette

I will write a separate blog post on the reasons why, but 2017 was the year I realised I had fallen out of love with Too Faced. This palette had such promise. And it delivered on none of that promise. You can see my full review here.

Fenty Beauty: Pro Filt’r Foundation

Again, I wrote a proper blog post about this discusses my full thoughts on this product and you can read that here. While there were some features that, for me, were a hit, there were just too many misses that I find myself unable to wear it. Mostly the fact that it simply would not stay around my nose, no matter what primer or application tool, or even setting powder or spray I used. I know there are some people that really love this product but it’s not for me.

 

And that concludes my year in makeup products – I would love to hear your thoughts on what products were hits and misses for you this year so leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram.

I hope you all have an amazing New Years and a wonderful start to your 2018 xx

 

Rimmel London Breathable Foundation

Finding a good foundation is like finding Prince Charming.

You have your little checklist – has to be tall, has to be handsome, has to surprise you with roses... and then he also has to be single.

Foundation is just like that. I had my checklist. I needed something light and breathable, low maintenance, in a pale but warm shade (because, yes, I look like I’ve never seen the sun in my entire life, but I also look bright pink if there’s even a hint of coolness to the shade) and then itย alsoย needed to be affordable and available in New Zealand.

In comes Rimmel. It ticks every box and even some I hadn’t thought of.

First of all, it’s light as air. You can barely feel it on the skin, and a little goes a long, long way. You can even set it with powder and still feel like your face is naked. It’s a medium coverage, and when coupled with the concealer it’s easy toย customize your level of coverage to suit your needs.ย 

The concealer is basically the same formula as the foundation except a little thicker because it’s full coverage (I mean, it’s a concealer, duh) but it’s still light as air and has a non-cakey finish.

It also ticks the low maintenance box – it’s incredibly long-wearing and you won’t need to touch it up throughout the day. I have normal skin, so if you have oily skin you may disagree, but I wore this from 6:30am to 10pm and it still looked fresh right up until I stepped into the shower.

It claims to last for 25 hours, I personally don’t have the energy to test that claim but if you do, more power to ya.

The final tick from me is that it is SPF20 – this is theย perfectย summer foundation. It’s lightweight, sweat proof and protects you from the sun. What more could a girl want??

It has a great big “cushion applicator” (picture a giant lipgloss applicator) which is actually a huge pain in the ass for me as a makeup artist because it’s much harder to decant than just a standard pump but if you’re buying it for yourself, you’ll probably really like how easy to apply it is.

My biggest problem with the range is that it does only come in 6 shades – while they have the perfect warm-but-pale shade for my skin (and I tried their lightest shade, porcelain, on a real-life ginger with actual real-life ginger skin and it was perfect for her), if you have darker skin you probably won’t find your shade here.

If you were wondering what a redhead with a tan looks like, here it is ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒž also a full month from my last hair appointment and my colour is still looking capital F R E S H so FRESH (thanks @jordichch โœจ) Eyes: #hudabeauty Rose Gold palette and #inglotcosmetics 14 pigment mixed with Duraline, #dodolashes in style D307 (โœจuse code MICHEFRANCES for ๐Ÿ’ธ offโœจ) lips: #revlonnz Ultra HD Gel lippie in Desert ๐ŸŒน face: #maybelline Super Stay primer, #rimmellondonnz Lasting Finish Foundation mixed with #benefitnz Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer, contoured with #rimmel dual ended contour stick and all set with #inglot powder ๐ŸŒธ @toofaced Papa Donโ€™t Peach blush, #anastasiabeverlyhills Moonstone highlighter โœจ brows: #abh Dipbrow Pomade ๐Ÿ’•โœจ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒน #motd #bronzed #duraline #abhfreaks #norvina #abhjunkies #sundipped #gingerhair #redhair #sttropeztannz #anastasiabrows #dipbrow #tanredhead #tanginger

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This is something that definitely needs to change – if RiRi can bring out 40 shades in her first ever release, Rimmel (who have been around for donkey’s years) should be able to come up with at least 20.

But since it has an RRP of only NZ$24.99 and it’s available from Farmers, Kmart and The Warehouse, it definitely ticks the affordability and availability boxes.

TL;DR: perfect summer foundation, does what it says on the tin, but needs more shades.

As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I did receive these products for free however my opinion remains honest and unchanged.

the official rimmel london nz best bits list

Rimmel and I go back. Way back.

Rimmel made the first lipstick I bought, at the tender age of 16 when my best friend and I got matching red lippies at the mall. They also made the first powder I fell in love with, that I still use to this day.

They’re affordable, of good quality, and easily accessible here in New Zealand.

But, with all “drugstore” brands, you are going to get some hits and misses.

So let me take the guesswork out of it with the official “Rimmel London NZ Best Bits List” (made official by yours truly, because I can.)

1. Stay Matte Pressed Powder – this stuff is all that, a bag of chips, a cake, a roast potato and half your mum’s ancient tin can collection. I wear this every day in the shade Transparent (which isย not a translucent powder, it is a lovely vanilla/ivory shade, a bit warmer than most lightest-shade-they-have shades) and it’s everything I want a powder to be. It sets foundation without being cakey, as well as being my go-to for on top of bare skin. It’s also only NZ$14.50 from The Warehouse. Get into it.

2. Insta Fix & Matte Powder – if you were looking for a translucent powder, you can’t look past this. It’s perfect for setting under your eyes without it going all crepey, you can use it to bake, set your foundation and concealer, and importantly there’s no flashback. Best of all, it’s a whopping NZ$16.99 from Farmers.ย (Soz but how can you argue with that price point???)

3. Wonder Wing liner – the beauty of this is in the shape of the tip. It’s a conical felt tip liner but one side has been shaved flat so you can stamp on your wing. I use theย edge of the shaved side to get a really fine line across my lashline and then use the flat edge for killer wings. It stays on really well – dries fast, doesn’t smudge or fade – but I find I need two coats to get it really black. This is a must have for me in the mornings – I can hit that snooze button one more time cause I know my liner is only gonna take me like, four and a half seconds. You can get it from Farmers for NZ$17.99.

4. Brow This Way Eyebrow Powder Kit – this is an amazing dupe for the Benefit Brow Zings, only it’s much friendlier for the pocket at NZ$16.99 instead of NZ$55. Brow powders are great because it’s easy to blend them out to look really natural. This one also comes with the cutest tiny spoolie.

5. Magnif’Eyes Eye Contouring Palette – I’ve used Smokey, Blush and Nude and I can hand on heart say I love them all, but Blush has to be my favourite. If you’ve got green or blue eyes, you need this palette. It has an RRP of NZ$25.99 which I honestly think is a steal for a 12 pan palette of this pigmentation.

I’m all for high end makeup but brands like Rimmel make beauty on a budget so easy. Perfect for Christmas presents for the makeup addict in your life.

What are your favourite products from Rimmel?

As always, this blog post is entirely my own, honest opinion. Everything I have written here I believe to be true. I did receive items 2 through 5 for review but paid full price for item 1, regardless my opinion is genuine.

huda beauty desert dusk review

I’ve had the Desert Dusk palette for a few weeks now, but I’ve been finding it so hard to write a review.

To be honest, after I wrote my review for Huda’s last palette (the Rose Gold palette, read that here) I sort of changed my mind about it. I initially wasn’t a huge fanย and it was a while before I could call myself convinced. So I really wanted to get to know Desert Dusk, you know? Take her out for a couple of drinks. Find out if our star signs are compatible.

Spoiler alert: I’m swiping right.

The shades aren’t totally dissimilar to the Rose Gold palette. In fact, side by side, they almostย look like they could all be from one big palette. Shades like Suede (RG) and Musk (DD), Maneater (RG) and Saffron (DD), Coco (RG) and Oud (DD) were similar enough that, if I was buying individual shadows, I probably wouldn’t buy both shadows in each pair. The shade Angelic also appears in both palettes.

But texturally, they are completely different. The thick foiled shadows of Rose Gold are gone and instead, there is a pleasing mix of mattes, duochrome toppers, shimmers and a glitter.

Mattes

The mattes are totally different to the first palette. Where they were leaning towards dry and chalkyย before, now they are creamy and much easier to blend. The big thing here is that the mattes aren’t totally matte – if you look closely there is an almost imperceptible amount of sheen in the shadows.

Shimmers

The hero shimmers of this palette are Blood Moon (which is so pigmented it will stain your fingers after swatching!), Cashmere and Turkish Delight. They’re just so rich and gorgeous. Nefertiti is also lovely, it has small amounts of actual glitter in it but sadly the glitter doesn’t adhere so well to the lid so be wary of fall out.

Having a wild Saturday night with @hudabeauty ๐Ÿ’• details…. @ericaknellermakeup says I have the lid space for 3 people so Iโ€™m trying to be a bit more grateful to have this face of mine ๐Ÿ˜‚ eyes: @shophudabeauty Desert Dusk palette, @xobeautyshop lashes in The Gold Digger ๐ŸŒน brows: @benefitnz Goof Proof brow pencil ๐Ÿ”ฎ face: @revlonanz Nearly Naked in Ivory (this is discontinued… boo), the best setting powder @lorealmakeup true match mattifying powder, @cozzette Illume to contour, @benefitcosmetics Rockateur blush and @beccacosmetics Moonstone highlight (although it doesnโ€™t pop on me as much as it does on the gorgeous @tinay.ang) and lastly lips: @anastasiabeverlyhills Pure Hollywood ๐ŸŽ€

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Duochrome toppers

Honestly, I’m not 100% convinced these are better than the foiled shadows. I was totally sucked in by Twilight when I saw it in the pan, but you need a solid base behind it or it fades to the background. You can see in the picture below, I really packed it on but it is still quite sheer. It is designed to be a topper, but I thought it was just a purple version of the RG foiled shadows and I think I would have preferred if it was.

Glitter

The biggest disappointment of the palette. Cosmo looks beautiful, it has so much promise, but it simply does not deliver. It’s supposed to be “ready to wear” and packed in something to help it stick to your lid… but it starts dropping off the moment you apply and it doesn’t stop. You may have applied to your eyelid, but this glitter wants to be on your cheeks. It also moves around something terrible in the palette. When I opened my palette for the first time, it looked like it had lifted out of the pan and been patted back inside.ย It’s a no from me.

@hudabeauty Desert Dusk palette ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป also first selfie with my iPhone 8+… let me just say that I have never seen my flaws in such high definition before ๐Ÿ˜‚ details: eyes: @shophudabeauty Desert Dusk palette (desert sand, musk, eden as transition shades, saffron, amethyst and oud as crease/outer corner, Nefertiti, royal and Turkish delight on lid and then went to town with cosmo glitter), @maybelline Hyper Sharp Wing liner, @xobeautyshop lashes in The Soulmate ๐Ÿ’• face: @revlonanz Colorstay, @rimmellondonnz Stay Matte powder, @maybelline Master Blush palette for blush, @beccacosmetics Moonstone highlight (also in inner corner) ๐Ÿ’• brows: @rimmellondonnz eyebrow pencil and brow powder ๐Ÿ’• lips: @colourpop Karrueche X Colourpop satin lip in Darling ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

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As for price point, this is a pricey palette. NZ$107 gets you eighteen shades, so you are getting a big palette for your money. Huda also upped her game on the packaging compared to the last one, it feels sturdier and it comes with a decent sized mirror. Although the mirror is basically useless since, due to the fragility of the glitter, I would never chuck this in my makeup bag to use on the go. It’s good quality and I am loving using it, the shades are gorgeous, but I guess it’s up to you to decide if you think $107 is worth it.

Close up ๐Ÿ‘€

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As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I paid full price for this product. Everything I have written here I believe to be true.

fenty beauty review / the day mama rihanna blessed my face

It has been less than two weeks since mama Rihanna blessed us with her brand new makeup line, Fenty Beauty, and the makeup world is on fire.

Everything about this collection is beautiful – from the packaging to the shades she chose.

She totally nailed her pre-launch marketing by dropping teasers as early as June and drip feeding us tastes of what was to come, accompanied by actual countdown clocks on retailerโ€™s websites.

That gloooowwww ๐Ÿ˜ @fentybeauty

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She also set a new standard by releasing 40 shades in the first drop, 40 shades that cater to a broad range of skin tones and not just your standard light tones with one or two token dark shades.

I picked up for myself the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 120, Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer, Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow and Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal.

Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer

I love this stuff – it’s silky, smooth and packed with silicones to create a perfect base for your makeup. It contains coral powder which fills, texturises and evens out your skin giving you that gorgeous, soft focus skin look.

Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

I was the most curious about this – I’d heard so many great things and so many bad things and I wanted to see for myself. I can confirm that it oxidized on my skin, so get a shade lighter than you would normally get. It also doesn’t wear particularly well around the crevices of my nose – by midday it’s sort of separating and with the lightest tap of a finger, it comes away from my skin. I have normal to dry skin, so I can’t imagine how this would wear on somebody with oily skin.

Fenty beauty oxidise oxidize pro filt'r 120

But for the first couple hours, and on the rest of my face it just looks absolutely flawless. It seriously makes me look like I’ve got a filter on my face. It’s light as air, sets without powder and doesn’t look cakey at all. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t stay that way.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

The absolute winner of the collection is, for me, this highlighter duo. It’s silky and glowy but not too sparkly. One of the shades in the duo is softer and subtler and the other shade packs a wee bit more punch but I usually layer them and I think that’s what a lot of people have been doing because it looks amazing.

The new love of my life ๐Ÿ˜ thank u mom @badgalriri

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Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow

I don’t have much to say about this except it’s a really lovely gloss. It’s not sticky, it’s a really universally flattering shade, it’s moisturising and stays glossy for a good few hours.

As for price point, the foundation and the highlighter were $56, the primer $52 and the lipgloss $34 from Sephora. I think it’s pretty standard for what you get, especially considering it’s all quite high quality.

I’d love to know what you guys think, which pieces did you buy or are lusting after?

syrene skincare review

syrene skincare review

I didn’t want to like this range as much as I do.

I love good packaging – if you know me at all, you’ll already know this. I’m a huge sucker for a pretty label or a nice jar. And don’t even get me started on gold foil.

Syrene has all of this. Beautiful, frosted jars with shiny foiled letters… from the moment I laid eyes on them, I needed to try what was inside.

The ingredients sounded intriguing, too. The range boasts a whole host of natural ingredients like:

  • Kawakawa extract which is a native New Zealand leaf with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Pohutakawa extract which is supposed to soften skin and promote cell regeneration
  • Marine collagen
  • L22 which is a skin lipid that is supposed to make you look 22 (I think?)
  • Ephemer which is a powerful antioxidant

So why didn’t I want to like this range?

In a nutshell, the price tag. The toner and the lotion retail for NZ$99.99, the creme is NZ$109.99 and the masque will set you back NZ$119.99. So… not cheap.

I was lucky to be sent a sampler pack and I put the range to the test over a week. I would have loved to have tested it for longer as the range claims to have benefits for use longer than 28 days – unfortunately I can’t comment on if these claims are true.

But after using it for the last week my thoughts are as follows:

  1. It smells lovely. It’s got a sort of oceany smell that’s hard to describe. Also, it’s blue.
  2. The lotion and the masque leave your skin feeling a bit sticky, but not in an unpleasant way.
  3. Immediately after applying, my skin was GLOWING. It looked springier and fuller. What fine lines? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
  4. The lotion was an incredible primer – because it was sort of sticky, my foundation went on smooth and stayed put all day.
  5. I have sensitive skin and this did not react badly or make me break out. However, my skin is heavily affected by my hormones (lucky me!) and I only had a weeks worth of products so I can only tell you what it was like during the follicular phase of my cycle and not the luteal phase.

I would probably say the only product from this range that I wouldn’t buy is the Aquagel Refreshing Tonertoners don’t really do anything and this was no exception. I also don’t really trust a product that claims to “absorb into skin” and “soak up makeup and impurities”. I don’t think I want my makeup and impurities absorbing into my skin, thanks.

The Aqua Hydrating Masque was lovely, the Aqua Intense Creme was lovely and the Aqualight Moisture Gel made a fab hydrating primer.

All in all, if you’re looking for a bit of a luxury treat for your face, this range is fantastic and will look phenomenal on your bathroom shelf.

Is it worth it just for the packaging?

Maybe.

It’s just a bonus that the product is good, too.

If you would like to try Syrene for yourself, it is available from Health 2000.

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. I received samples of these products for free however my opinion is completely honest and everything I have written here I believe to be true. It is my duty as a beauty blogger to give you the truth as I see it and I take that seriously.

urban decay naked heat review

The Naked Heat palette is the smoky, warm palette of my dreams.

It’s a Naked palette but it’s certainly not a nude palette – it has warm neutrals, but they’re alongside smoky reds and oranges and a sultry deep purple. Heat it promises, and heat it delivers.

Colour pay off is fantastic (would we expect anything less from Urban Decay?), and while there are a couple of shades that have a slightly drier formula the majority are smooth and buttery and blend like a dream. 

At NZ$91, it’s not a cheap palette. But it’s more versatile than you’d expect a red eyeshadow palette to be – you can use this for a warm neutral look or a smouldering smoky eye and just about everything in between. 
If I have to pick something I don’t like about it, it would be the lack of a black shadow. I know we’ve seen black before in Naked palettes but when I think of heat, I think of charcoal black blending out with smoky, sultry reds.

This palette is a huge yes from me and when it launches on the 29th of August, there are worse things you could be buying.
As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion. I do not represent anyone or anything. I paid full price for this product and everything I have written here I believe to be true.