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.


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.


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.


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?


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.

break-up makeup balm // a gift to the universe

I think the Goodness Break-Up Makeup Balm is the best thing since coconut oil. And that could be because the main ingredient is coconut oil, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a gift to the universe.
Remember how coconut oil was supposed to give us softer skin, whiten our teeth, fix our straightener damaged hair, make our farts smell like lavender andย make your ex-boyfriend want you back? Well… while it hasn’t delivered on all of those promises, you can bet your sweet bippy that it makes a fucking fantastic makeup remover. The Goodness Break-Up Makeup Balm is like coconut oil on steroids. It’s all that, and a bag of chia seeds.

How does it work?

You just warm a small amount in your hands and then smoosh-smoosh (technical term, ladies and gents) all over your face. Watch as it breaks up your no-budge eyeliner and gently dissolves your mascara without snagging all your lashes out. Then, once your face is an oily grey blur of mascara and foundation, take a hot flannel and wipe it all off. For best results, lay the flannel on your face for a few and give yourself a wee sauna facial (this is my mum’s trick from aaages ago, she swears by it) to help the coconut oil melt properly so you can wipe it off easier.

What don’t I just use coconut oil?

Remember when I said it’s all that and a bag of chia seeds? It’s also packed with all the other ingredients you pay $25 for at brunch with the girls. Avocado oil, chia seed oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil… basically all the reasons why you don’t already own a house in Auckland. But then it’s also vegan (which means, unlike most makeup balms, it contains no beeswax – great for me since I’m allergic!)

The packaging is boss, once this is all used up I can see myself keeping things in the tin. It’s made in New Zealand. It’s all natural. It smells awesome. It’s also available for $19.99 at Countdown.
Honestly, I can’t find a fault.

If you guys try it, let me know what you think!


As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. Nobody paid me to write this post and everything I have written here I believe to be true.

the balm autobalm Hawaii face palette reviewย 

I think that, by now, we all know The Balm absolutely slay at packaging. As a brand, The Balm has consistently given us cute, kinda retro, pun-heavy and slightly silly products. I mean, a mascara called “Tall Dark and Handsome”? Yes, please. So when they came out with these travel sized palettes, they took a product that was relatively simple – a blush and three eyeshadows – and they came up with a really fun idea. They made it look like a driver’s license.

The palette itself is roughly the same size as a driver’s license, it’s quite compact and not particularly deep so it’s easy to pop into your makeup bag or handbag. The packaging is cardboard with a magnetic close and a sturdy mirror. It’s gorgeous to look at, fun and quirky, and very on point with the brand’s style. The pans aren’t huge, the blush especially is tiny for what you would expect for a blush, but perfect for a travel sized product.

As for colour selection, I honestly didn’t really see the colours working together. There is a very hot pink blush (very bright) a satiny “highlighter/shadow” which is almost matte and not particularly highlighting but works great as a base shade, a dark matte purple “eyeshadow/liner” and a metallic silver eyeshadow. With only three eyeshadows, your options are always going to be limited to basically one look. But when I first saw the palette my first thought was “silver and plum..? Really?” but then I gave it a go and was surprised at how well it worked.

The eyeshadows are high quality, pigmented and soft and blendable with minimal to no fallout. If you lay down a good base of the highlight shade, then mix the purple slowly and softly through you get a really lovely crease colour even without a transition shade. Which goes against basically every YouTube dos and don’ts for eyeshadow video. Ever. It also lasted really well. I put it on at 6:45am (over the Too Faced eyeshadow primer) and wore it all day at work, through a 60-minute spin class and a shower and when I took it off at 8pm, it hadn’t faded or smudged or anything. It still looked awesome.

And now for the stuff that I didn’t like, which was, in a nutshell, the blush. It’s too much. To be fair, I am a very light touch with blush because I feel like your face makeup should look as though you’re not wearing makeup at all… but this stuff? Well, I used an incredibly light hand and I still looked like a clown. And no matter what I did, it wouldn’t blend out. Two of the girls at work even admitted it didn’t look very good. I’ve heard that people with darker complexions haven’t had any issues, but personally, I was really not a fan.

This palette (and her sister California) sell for NZ$39.99 at Life Pharmacy, which personally I think is quite steep for three small eyeshadows and a blush. They are high quality, though, and something I could see myself continuing to use regularly. The blush, on the other hand, I will probably never use again.

TL;DR: awesome little palette, blush is way too much for me, maybe a little bit spensy but I think it’s worth it.

As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I was gifted this product however my opinion is still completely honest.

KYLIE COSMETICS royal peach palette HONEST reviewย 

Even though I have had so many requests for a review on this palette, I’ve been putting off doing it because I knew it was going to be a difficult one to write. If I’m completely honest with you, I’m not a huge Kylie fan but I really didn’t want to let that taint my review. I have never written a dishonest review and I don’t ever plan to. I’m going to talk about the palette and only the palette, because there are far too many reviews that barely touch on the product and spend way too much time bashing either the company or the people behind the company.

So, to reiterate: this is a review on the Kylie Cosmetics Royal Peach palette not a review on Kylie Cosmetics as a brand or Kylie Jenner as a person. Are we good? Let’s get started. 

This post is broken down into sections so you can just read the parts that interest you, there is also a too long; didn’t read section at the end if you just want the gist of it.

The purchase:

So, I know I just said I wasn’t going to talk about the brand, but because this palette is only available on her website it’s kind of hard to not at least briefly discuss my experience. To be completely clear, I did not personally purchase this palette off their website. My client, who is a Kylie fan, purchased the palette and a few other things from the website when Kylie announced the release on her snapchat. She bought two palettes by mistake and had mentioned to me that she was going to have to find someone to sell the other one to, and since I’m always a slut for makeup I offered to buy it off her. I paid my client $64 and the palette took quite a long time to arrive. I believe it took around a month for it to arrive, although I don’t have exact dates since it was neither charged to my card nor delivered to my house.

Top row swatches

First impression:

Immediately I was impressed by the packaging, but I’ll touch on that in a following segment. I swatched everything in my car in the car park at work because I couldn’t wait to get home to dig in, and honestly I was so disappointed. There were only a couple that swatched nicely and the majority were patchy and not as pigmented as you would expect them to be. The blue shade, the star of the show, was the most disappointing. It was incredibly patchy and clung to my skin in little splodges instead of swiping smoothly along my wrist the way you’d expect it to. That’s when I noticed the smell. Oh yes, the smell.

The smell:

Yes, this gets its own section. The smell is like a strong chemical smell, like a glue or a spray paint smell. It’s hard to ignore. I did find a way around this, as the pans are magnetized to the palette rather than being glued down (excellent idea, by the way) I pried them out and lay the shadows near a window and the open palette on the windowsill itself and let them air out over a couple of days. Doing this should fix the bad smell. However, for $64, I shouldn’t have to do that. I have read that the company has addressed this and they claim it’s a glue used to put the palette together, personally I think that’s really poor quality control but thankfully not harmful to the user.

The packaging:

Like I said before, the packaging for this palette is on point. The palette came in a cardboard box with Kylie’s eyes on the front of the box (very Huda Beauty-esque, there have been rumours of Kylie ripping her off but again I am not here to talk about the brand) but when you remove the box the palette itself is a clean, white, sturdy cardboard palette with KYLIE in big foil letters across it. It has a mirror, which is always a plus. It also came with a tapered blending brush, almost identical to the MAC 217 although the MAC 217 is denser/fuller and fluffier. So that was nice, compared to the little foam applicators that come with most palettes. The shadows themselves are round pans and in the clean white palette, it almost looks like a watercolour paints palette. As I mentioned before, the pans are magnetized and I think this is excellent because you don’t have to damage your fingers or your makeup by attempting to remove it yourself in order to store the pans in a space saving palette like a Z palette.

But how did it perform?

The first thing I can tell you is that the little imitation 217 was a complete pain in the ass. It wasn’t especially scratchy or uncomfortable on the eyes, but I just could not for the life of me get it to build up any decent colour. I ended up ditching the brush fairly early on and reaching for a better brush.

Side by side comparison of a (dirty) MAC 217 and the Kylie Cosmetics Royal Peach brush

The mattes were actually nicer than I thought they would be. They applied to the eyelid better than they swatched, blended out fairly easily and were nice and buildable. I was less than impressed with all the metallic/shimmery shades. I used a synthetic flat brush, like I normally would with a shimmer, but they didn’t perform particularly well on the lid. They applied patchy, had an insane amount of fall out, and took quite a lot of packing on to build up any pigmentation. 


The good:

  1. Packaging is nice
  2. Colour selection is pretty and works well together 
  3. Mattes perform well
  4. Pans are magnetized to the palette for easy removal

The bad:

  1. Brush is crap
  2. Shimmers/metallics are super hard to use
  3. Heaps of fall out

The ugly:

  1. It stinks of paint thinner
  2. It’s a waste of money, in my honest opinion.
  3. You don’t need it.

As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. Nobody paid me to write this post and everything I have written here I believe to be true.