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€

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

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’•

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

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‘€

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

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

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

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

A post shared by Michelle ๐ŸŒน (@michefrances) on

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?

a slick quickie about oils

Back in my day, when a girl reached “that age” she was handed a Dolly magazine, a training bra and a Nivea three-step pack and told: “oil = bad”. And I believed it, for a long time.

Oil-free moisturisers, oil clearing cleansers, mattifying primers… These are all products that I’ve had in my skincare arsenal for yonks because I believed the myth that oil is bad and must be got rid of at all costs.

And, funnily enough, I also thought I had sensitive skin. I had dermatitis that flared up for seemingly no reason. But alongside the dry patches, I also had an ocean of zits on my forehead and temples that just wouldn’t go away – no matter how much I scrubbed and cleansed.

Then oil came along and I wondered what I had been afraid of for so long.

Oil = good.

I use 5 different oils in 5 different ways and the change in my skin has been quite dramatic.

  1. I switched my morning oil-free, SPF moisturiser for a day cream that contains sweet almond oil, chia seed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and heaps of other skin-loving goodies. I was a little bit concerned that it would disagree with my foundation but I haven’t had any issues. In fact, after a couple of weeks, I stopped using foundation because my skin has been so good. I use Goodness Every Morning Moisturiser – it’s bae.
  2. I was using a standard body moisturiser after my shower but I find when it’s cold, all I wanna do is get my jammies on pronto. Which, unfortunately, meant that I was skipping the moisturiser more often than I like to admit. The game changer for me was when I switched to the Pure Fiji Bath & Body Oil because it’s liquid so it absorbs into your skin almost instantly (cutting down chilly naked time) but it’s also really nourishing. It has a blend of coconut oil, dilo oil, macadamia oil and sikeci oil and honestly does wonders for your skin.
  3. I started using a hair oil to tame the frizz and add shine – it’s hard to find one that isn’t just a bottle of perfumed silicone with a pretty label but I really love the Hask Strengthening Shine Oil because, yes, it has a healthy dose of silicones but it also has bamboo extract, biotin, collagen and avocado oil. I use it on wet hair but I also rub a small amount in my palms and use it to slick down flyaways to give my straightened ‘do a little protection from humidity.
  4. After using my night cream (which is essentially a heavier version of my day cream, sans SPF) I just pat two drops of this gorgeous chia seed oil into my skin. I find that I wake up with nicer skin, I get less dry patches and it helps my eyebrow hairs grow (seriously, not even kidding).
  5. I also use oil to remove my makeup. I use Break-Up Make-Up Balm which is a delicious blend of chia seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil and avocado oil that dissolves my makeup before I cleanse. This makes a huge difference because I’m not scrubbing at my face with cotton pads to convince my long wearing mascara to get the hell off my face. Less friction on the face = happier skin (and more eyelashes).

Other skin types benefit from oils too, though – not just skin on the dryer end of the spectrum. Nadia has a great breakdown of oils by skin type here. So, even if you have oily skin, oil still = good.

Do you guys use oils? Which ones would you recommend for your skin type?

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. Everything I have written here I believe to be true. I received products for consideration from Goodness. However, I have chosen to repurchase with my own money and continue using them because I genuinely think they are good products.

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.

what to expect at sydney imats 2017

Cozzette imatsIt feels like just yesterday that I was walking back to my hotel from IMATS with my loot bag in tow, feeling exhausted but happy and already excited for the next one – even though it seemed so far away. Surprise, bitch. IMATS Sydney 2017 is this weekend, so I felt like it was time for a refresher course on what to expect if this is your first time.

Read my original complete guide to surviving your first IMATS – Sydney edition here

  1. Wear flat shoes and short sleeves (for swatching) but bring a light jumper because the room is big and drafty
  2. Bring a bag (for all your purchases, holding many shopping bags is less comfortable than it looks in the movies and you want your hands free) and inside that bag, you’ll want your own makeup wipes and tissues
  3. Bring a snack and some water, nobody likes you when you’re hungry, tired and cranky
  4. Bring CASH – lots and lots of cash (I spent just over AU$500 and all of it was cash, nobody takes card)
  5. Get there about half an hour to an hour early if you want to be among the first in line, have your ticket and ID ready
  6. If you are going to go to one of the big ticket booths (like MAC or Nyx that have big lines) pick one and go there immediately. The lines for these stalls were so long, I honestly didn’t even bother.
    IMATS sydney guide
    Click here to see the floor plan and exhibitor list
  7. Watch some of the demonstrations – even if you’re only there for the shopping! You just might learn something.
  8. If you’re going with a friend, make an arrangement to split up if you want to go to different stalls. You don’t wanna miss out on getting what you want because your friend just had to stop and swatch 800 identical lipsticks.


I hope that this helps! If you guys have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them!

beauty products you never need to buy, ever.

Makeup, beauty products you don't need
Need all of these… clearly
Looking back over my lifetime as a makeup purchaser, I can put my hand up and solemnly swear that I have bought some Dumb Shit. For example, I bought a $30 blue kohl pencil and only wore it twice because… bright blue kohl??? Then there was that time I bought a very expensive moisturiser in a tiny jar because it smelled nice, but it didn’t have any special qualities that you can’t find in a tub of Olay cream.

I’d like to save you guys the hassle and money by letting you in on a little secret. There are some products you just do not need, ever. These are products which exist purely as a money suck.

1. Toner – You’ve probably been using toner ever since you hit puberty and your mum bought you that Nivea three step set (you know the one I’m talking about). But it really doesn’t do anything for your skin. Water is perfectly capable of removing the last traces of your cleanser, your skin will pH balance itself, and it is physically impossible for it to “close” your pores. Save your money.

2. Anti-cellulite creamthere is just no evidence that they work. A topical cream cannot get through multiple layers of skin and into the fat underneath. You’d be better off getting a tan and learning to love yourself.

3. Eye creams – If you have really sensitive eyes, by all means, use a special cream to save yourself the stinging. But for the majority, your normal facial cream is perfect for the job and usually quite a lot cheaper. Just make sure that you pat the cream in rather than rub, as the delicate skin around your eyes is more prone to wrinkling.

4. Pore strips or peel-off masks – I know they sit right in that sweet spot between pain and pleasure, and it’s cool to see all the gunk coming off your face, but please for the love of your skin put them away. These products will actually do more damage to your skin in the long run. They strip off healthy skin cells and oils, they can cause spider veins and broken capillaries, and to top it all off they don’t get rid of blackheads – they just remove the top layer and leave the rest of the blackhead safe inside your pore. Using these strips will come back to haunt you. Do I need to continue?

5. Brow gel – I feel a bit sheepish about this one as I only recently bought myself a lovely expensive brow gel, but realistically it’s just clear hair gel in a tube with a mascara wand. If you are gonna buy one, make it a cheapy – or better yet, just steal some of your boyfriend’s hair gel and use a disposable spoolie.


If you guys have any other products you’d like to add to this list, leave me a comment below!

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. I do not represent anyone or anything and everything I have written here I believe to be true.

beauty blogging and transparency: a moral dilemma

As some of you may know, a recent rule change now requires Australian social media influencers to disclose in the caption if the post they are making is sponsored. New Zealand doesn’t have a rule like this – unlike America, Australia and the UK, we can pretty much post whatever we want and the transparency is at our whimsy.
I think that chances are, we will not be far behind them. But I personally believe that my readers (that’s you guys!) deserve honesty and transparency – whether it’s the law or not. For a while now, I’ve been posting the following disclaimer at the end of all my reviews:

“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. “

But aside from declaring all freebies and paid posts, there is another moral dilemma: can you trust what influencers are telling you?

The main problem with big internet stars and youtubers like NikkieTutorials and Shannon Harris (Shaaanxo) is that they’re so big, their reach is so huge, that people just can’t trust that what they’re saying is true. It’s estimated that Shannon Harris makes up to $2000 per video on youtube, and instagram users with more than 500k followers can earn more than $1200 per post. You really have no idea if they’re being honest or if they’re saying what the brand wants them to say so that they keep getting paid.
It’s a business, like any other, and we can’t expect big influencers to turn around and say “no thank you, I won’t have your $2000 as I don’t really love your product” because they have to pay their bills too. As a business owner, I’d also be pretty upset if I commissioned a sponsored post and the influencer trashed my product.

Perhaps this is why attention is being or should be turned to smaller influencers, with less followers. At just under 2000 instagram followers, my reach is so small and insignificant that no brand is going to pay me to promote their product. However, if I may toot my own horn, I do create beautifully styled images that the brand is then able to re-post onto their own channels. Because of this, I have been contacted by brands I was already posting about (because I love them) to “say thanks” with a gift of free product. There have never been any strings attached and they have never said to me: “We’ll give you these products if you post them online.”

I think that these days, most people are already aware of how monetized big social media accounts are. There’s nothing we can do about that. But as a smaller influencer, I feel that it is my duty to tell you guys what’s up and to always be honest.

Do you guys agree? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comment section.