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Tales from the top shelf: skin care update

Hello, friends. Today, we talk about skin care. Contrary to how I titled this post, I don’t actually reach for the top shelf when it comes to skin care (off to a great start, aren’t I?) — if it works, it works.

I do enjoy trying new things, though I’ve scaled back the trying a lot. These are the skin care things currently in my rotation, in case you want to try new things, too. A caveat: I don’t currently have the best skin situation, though I can say that these have more or less taken care of my skin, under the stress of moving and changing temperatures, among other things.

(I’m moving in a few weeks, and I thought it would be nice (lol) to say ‘hi’ from my current student halls bathroom. I have an ensuite — hallelujah.)

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On my very tiny shelf, I’ve got:

  • micellar water and a face wash from the drugstore — nothing to write home about; they get the job done! I also have a face scrub in the shower from this brand. Unsure if I’ll repurchase, or find cruelty-free alternatives.
  • MAKE Moonlight Brightening Serum — something I’ve repurchased since it got rid of the hyperpigmentation around my nose due to stress acne. Not the cheapest… but again, if it works, it works.
  • & Other Stories Moiré Anti-Stress Serum — nothing super great, just trying to get through the bottle, honestly.
  • The Ordinary 100% Plant-Dervied Squalane — squalane oil, which works really well for me (I have dry skin). I know this breaks other people out, but it’s the first layer of moisturiser I use, especially when the air feels especially dry. (My first intro to squalane oil was Indie Lee’s!)
  • The Ordinary “Buffet” — I use this pretty sparingly, because I think my skin can’t take handling too many things at once. It’s a “multi-technology” peptide serum which targets “aging problems,” if I’m not mistaken. Honestly… I shouldn’t’ve, but I did. So here we are.
  • Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream — layer 2 of moisture. Almost out of it, and I’m scared about that because I want to repurchase but I also have to pay my rent and feed myself, so. I don’t know. It’s an amazing lightweight moisturiser that combats dryness and sinks in easily. I think it’s a great pre-makeup moisturiser.
  • Superdrug Tea Tree Anti-Spot Stick — purchased to replace my Human Nature Tea Tree gel thing, which worked great. If I had money, I’d repurchase the Indie Lee Blemish Lotion. Alas, this works okay, if not as well.
  • Glossier Super Glow — I don’t even know what this does, but I can’t see it. Just using it up!

Misc. Notes:

  • I’ve emptied my Glossier Super Bounce, which was way more useful than Super Glow, in terms of my skin needs (dry, dry, dry). However, I think it’s probably mainly just hyaluronic acid, which is pretty accessible in most places, so you don’t need to have that stuff shipped, probably. The bottle’s really pretty, though.
  • I’ve got a bottle of The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane, which I don’t use because I think my skin gets upset (lol) when I try too many products at once. Plus, I’ve been really lazy about sun protection, so I’ll save it for when I’m in a better place. (Not… dead, just like, more diligent about sunscreen.)
  • I have a few wash-off/wipe-off hydration masks that I use occasionally. Very rarely, though. Mostly because I forget.

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And, that’s it! Apologies if this wasn’t terribly helpful. I’m looking for an acid scrub, too. I used to use One Love Organics’ which was made from pineapple enzymes, but I have yet to find a U.K. stockist. Any suggestions?

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Softly, again

Uh, hi. You might (?) remember me from years ago when I wrote a lot about beauty. Likely in a curious, albeit misguided way. I locked this account away at some point for various reasons I don’t feel like getting into now, but the beauty bug. It has bitten me once again. Not in quite the same way, and certainly, the first initial sting never left me completely. But, I was over it for a while (it felt too consuming, if you can believe that), and now I’m not. So, hi.

I’m in the process of cleaning up house here, but I wanted to just say hi, a bit. I guess? I don’t know. This all feels very strange…

First thing to get out of the way is that I’ve moved continents on account of school. So, I don’t have a lot of makeup with me and I don’t plan on accumulating a lot more (although I did a spot of shopping here and there, of course).

I look like this now:

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While I was away from here, I mostly look like this…

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… but then I guess I felt like I needed a haircut, so. Here, another one just for kicks:

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I’m actually in the process of so many things such as uni and moving and a show, among personal crises etc. etc., but I always find myself thinking about how I wish I could write about so and so beauty thing, so here we are. I’m not sure if I’m going to be leaving this up as sort of an archive and just update sparingly about beauty over at my main blog (which is Nothing Spaces, if you didn’t know) or whatever. We’ll see.

I think the question is, also, what else do I have to say that people would like to read about? Beats me, honestly, but we’ll find out soon enough. (Obviously, you can ask about certain things you know I use, or like, opinions on shit? I don’t know. WHY AM I BACK HERE, AGAIN?)

For now, have this long and convoluted hi-saying! I hope this is more fun than my first try at it.

FOTD: Hello, Rome

Hiya, I finally managed to take good photos of my makeup before it got too dark out! I’ve been feeling pretty bored and repetitive, so I ~tried~ to play with my eye makeup this time around. Still neutrals, though, but I cracked open my Makeup Revolution I Heart Chocolate palette* (a supposed dupe for the TooFaced Chocolate Bar palette) and tbh, I’m still quite impressed by it. Realized, too, that I haven’t posted any looks using this palette.

FOTD - 03082016a

Face & Cheeks

Rediscovered my y.e.t. Cosmetics Fill It Up Primer… And I kind of don’t like how it ended up working with my makeup. My initial review of it was kind of glowing, lol. But maybe it’s the face oil I used.

For this look, I used MAKE Soft Focus Foundation, powdered down with Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Pressed Powder.

I used Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder for my contour, and am wearing a beautiful MAC blush (!) called Breezy, which I got from Laura as a gift. 🙂

FOTD - 03082016c

Eyes & Lips

Eyebrows courtesy of my MAKE matte eyeshadow in Khaki* which I applied with a MAC 266 brush. My eye base is a MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. I used these shades from the I Heart Chocolate palette: You Need Love, Thank Friday, More!, Smooth Criminal, and What a Way to Go. Then, I thought I’d give the wings a rest and went with a simple line using the MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy.

My lipstick, Mirenesse Mattfinity Lip Rouge in Rome*, is something I got from Sephora! It’s similar to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (which I ended up didn’t loving as much as everyone seemed to) and it smells like candy. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I like it so far. I think the shade washes me out a little, though, but it might be my tan.

FOTD - 03082016 - Eyes Brows

AHHH I wore mascara after the longest time. This one’s the K-Palette 1Day Tattoo 24H Lash Perm Volume Curl Mascara* which I’m liking quite a lot. Not much I can do with my stubby lashes, but I love the formula of this one.

FOTD - 03082016 - Products

Anyway, that’s it. I hope you’re doing well! As you may or may not have noticed, on top of being busy, I hit a makeup slump, but I’ve got some ideas, so… let’s see how far I get with that. WISH ME LUCK, I HAVE MISSED MAKEUP SO MUCH?

* Items marked with an asterisk are PR Samples.

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New Loves: 2016

Hey everyone, I’m alive. I just wanted to take a bit of time to write about some (admittedly kind of boring, but still amazing) things that I’ve been enjoying during the year so far. To be honest, I haven’t been that adventurous with makeup in a while. I’ve been working part-time and I usually have to throw on a quick lewk before dashing out the door.

In any case, what I’ve got here are just essentials, really, to my routine lately. I tried to pick the items I haven’t really spoken about at length here before. Just a disclaimer: most of this post is made up of items that are gifted by friends and family or sent by PR teams, as that’s the only time I’ve been able to really test new stuff out. I’ve cut down on my spending (on makeup, at least) a lot as I’m saving up for trips later on in the year.

Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment

One of my mom’s brothers has been based in Australia for a while with his family and his wife (my aunt) brought this back on one of their trips back here. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before because I was busy with other lip stuff, but it’s actually been really helpful for stubborn dryness, as well as for other skin shit that needs soothing. A+! I think they sell these here, but at kind of exorbitant prices.

FS Duo Eyebrow Pen in Shade 2*

The PR team of FS Cosmetics graciously sent me this eyebrow pen (my request) and some tiny lipstick samples a few weeks ago. I have to say I’m pretty obsessed with these retractable-type of eyebrow pencils—where the tips are a bit harder/stiffer than the pencils you sharpen. This one has kind of a duo-color tip (as opposed to being dual-ended as I initially thought) and combines a warm brown and an ash brown/grey to create a nice brow match for my black hair that’s not too harsh on my face.

Nudestix Eyebrow Stylus Pencil & Gel in Dirty Blonde*

I wrote about this here, but I just wanted to say that I’ve been enjoying it still! It gives such good definition to my brows, even with the shade match, and I use it when I don’t want a super dark brow. It blends in with my dark hair, too, rather (surprisingly) seamlessly.

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

I got this years ago and it’s still going strong. To be fair, I don’t use it everyday, but it gives me enough texture in my hair that makes me look less like a mushroom-head. I don’t get “sexy, beach, windswept” hair, but I don’t really expect much from it since my hair’s pretty thick. I’m okay with a little bit of texture.

Bumble and Bumble Cityswept Finishing Spray

I got this from Shine, who says it doesn’t work much for her. Again, it’s supposed to create something like “lived-in,” messy bed-head, but I get more of a slightly piece-y style that, again, prevents mushroom-head. I use this alone or with the Surf Spray. It doesn’t make a lot of a difference, but it does enough for me.

Bioré Uru Uru 2-in-1 Instant Foaming Wash*

I received this from Bioré and I wasn’t super excited about it at first since I thought I would be receiving their micellar water (I’m an ingrate), but obviously I ate my words because you can see it as part of this post. It foams up really densely—I can’t stress this enough; apparently it has 8x denser foam than your typical foaming facial wash—and it washes away all makeup in one go. I kid you not; I even tried it with mascara, as per Chi’s query.

The Uru Uru 2-in-1 Instant Foaming Wash contains “40% Beauty Essence” including glycerin, rose hip extract, and royal jelly extract that supposedly moisturizes your skin, too. I have to say that it does provide adequate moisture; I sometimes forego my night moisturizer when I’m feeling truly lazy. My only qualm about this, probably, is that it smells so strongly of roses. Like, it doesn’t smell awful, but it’s just a strong scent, so heads up if you’re sensitive to fragrance!

New Loves - 2016a

And that’s it! Sorry these are “boring” products, but they’ve helped me cut back on steps in my routine and streamline it, so that’s always good. Let me know what you’ve been enjoying lately!

* Items marked with an asterisk are PR Samples.

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Sephora Says Hello!

Good news, girls and boys—Sephora has come to Philippine shores! The Sephora team kindly sent me some of the products they carry on their website, and honestly, it felt a little bit like Christmas to me.

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If you shop online a lot and the list of brands seems familiar to you, it’s because Luxola (which I’ve mentioned here and here) has rebranded to Sephora.ph. They’re rolling out more brands soon, and I tried to poke around to see which ones, but they wanted stuff to be a surprise (understandably!), so I guess my fingers are crossed for some of my favorite Sephora staples to cross over.

Sephora-Brushes

What’s great about Sephora.ph, too, is that there is a pretty varied selection. Here are just 3 cruelty-free brands that they carry:

Sephora-NudeStix, Mirenesse, Winky Lux

Nudestix Eyebrow Stylus Pencil and Waterproof Setting Gel in Dirty Blonde*

I didn’t think this was going to work out for me because of the color, but it was so easy to use and the shade matched me strangely well! I love the soft definition it gives to the brows. The pencil end is sort of a triangular/tapered shape, with the lead a bit hard (good) and not waxy. The pigment applies well and smoothly, though. The setting gel is pretty nice—definitely made me see the difference between a setting gel and regular clear mascara.

Sephora-NudeStix

The Nudestix products come in a beautiful tin case, and when you open the lid and flip it, it has a mirror. I think it’s great for travel and the size is great at making sure you don’t haul large amounts of cosmetics with you. It keeps them snug and safe, too.

Winky Lux Lip Velour in Babe*

Winky Lux is a new brand to me, but I thought the packaging was so cute! Babe is a beautiful everyday color that has a pop of brightness, and the bullet is small (and cute!) enough to bring around for touch-ups. The formula is quite nice for a matte, and it is reasonably pigmented, too.

Mirenesse Ink Liner in Orgasm*

Another new brand to me, Mirenesse is based in Australia and also, as I’ve mentioned, cruelty-free. I actually received a small packet of Mirenesse items, and they all look quite nice. The Ink Liner is budge-proof (surprising, on my waterline) and Orgasm is a great eye brightener that’s not too stark or bold like some liners are.

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I’ll be rolling out some more reviews in the coming days. I actually used the Sephora brushes* for this look, too, and my favorite is the 83 PRO Ultra-liquid foundation and 75 PRO Angled contour brushes. Very surprised that I enjoyed using the 37 PRO winged liner brush. I’m also particularly keen on trying the Alpha-H Liquid Gold* (something I’ve had on my wishlist since Luxola). Other cruelty-free brands that have caught my eye: Zoeva (still!) and Cover FX. Exciting times up ahead!

* Items marked with an asterisk are PR Samples.

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MAC Marge’s Extra Ingredients Quad

Aside from the 3 blush pans, Laura also sent me an LE MAC quad from the Simpsons collection from a while back. She received it gratis, which explains the lack of special packaging, and said she thought it would be fun for me to try out.

This one’s called Marge’s Extra Ingredients and has four colors: Harpooned Heart, Sexy PB & J, Beehive Blue, Vivacious Vacuum Cleaner Bag.

  • Harpooned Heart: light baby pink (Lustre)
  • Sexy PB & J: mid-tone bright violet (Veluxe pearl)
  • Beehive Blue: mid-tone bright blue (Veluxe Pearl)
  • Vivacious Vacuum Cleaner Bag: deep navy (Frost)

FYR: lustre (smoothly pearlized; intensely frosted with deluxe ultrafine ‘conditioned’ finish), veluxe pearl (vibrantly toned. Velvety soft. Shimmeringly metallic. Veluxe eyeshadow, now overlaid with high-shine pearl), frost (an iridescent shine that adds a highlight to any color).

MAC Marge's Extra Ingredient Quad - Swatches - Harpooned Heart, Sexy PB and J, Beehive Blue, Vivacious Vacuum Cleaner Bag
Swatched, L-R: Harpooned Heart, Sexy PB and J, Beehive Blue, Vivacious Vacuum Cleaner Bag

When I started getting into makeup, I was really drawn to purples (especially when it comes to eyeshadow), but I don’t wear that color that much anymore unless it’s purple-toned blush. Laura was right, though. Because these aren’t colors I normally pick out, they were fun to play with.

I don’t know why, but I really have a hard time wearing cool-toned eyeshadow. Anyway, of the four shades, my favorites to work with are Sexy PB&J and Beehive Blue. Coincidentally, both are veluxe pearl eyeshadows.

MAC Marge's Extra Ingredient Quad -2

The pans are cute and pressed with a section of Marge’s face and iconic hairdo.

MAC Marges Extra Ingredients Quad

Mmm, this is pretty much your standard gradation: Harpooned Heart pretty much packed on the inner 2/3 of the lid, meeting up with Sexy PB&J which I added on the outer half (so they’re mixed in the center lid), and a bit of Vivacious Vacuum Cleaner Bag on the very outer ‘v’. I used Beehive Blue on the outer half of my lower lashline but didn’t like how BLUE it was, so I covered it with a medium brown eyeliner.

Carina and Isa Here’s a photo of me and my best friend, Isa. I don’t know if it makes it easier to see the eyeshadow (I don’t imagine it does), but here’s one with the, um, context of my whole face.

Mmm I don’t remember what I was wearing this day. I think I had on bareMinerals Complexion Rescue, an LMdB pressed powder, probably a bit of Kjaer Weis Abundance and Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium. Eyeliner was a brown-black liquid liner by K-Palette* And I think I had on NARS Audacious Lipstick in Julie, but then I ate and it rubbed off.

I love the quad, but I think it would be more amazing if worn with other eyeshadows (probably neutrals?) just to ground them. I don’t typically wear super colorful eyeshadow anymore, though now that I’ve written that, I’m wondering why I stopped, a little bit. Eyeshadow is fun!

Anyway, that’s my exciting~ post for the day. I still love makeup! I still have to keep myself from buying everything in sight! I hope you’re all having a good day.

* Items marked with an asterisk (*) are PR samples.

Eyeshadow quad was gifted by Laura ❤ Sorry this is limited edition, but I've seen it on eBay, if you're interested.

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Sample Stash Sunday No. 1

I’ve been doing Sample Stash Sundays for a few years on this blog, and the feature comes and goes, and actually focuses on specific samples at a time. Well, in an effort to destash my samples and keep them from wasting away, I made a dedicated attempt at using them up. But, I’m going to be posting the little reviews in groups. So, we’re going to start back at “No. 1.” Because I said so.

Here’s a look at my first batch of samples, some of which were tried from late last year.

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Treatment Mask*

This was honestly a great moisturizing mask, but I am just really averse to creams you wipe away from your face. I just don’t like that sensation. This was very effective in moisturizing my face, though, especially taking care of the dry patches around my mouth area, which regular moisturizers tend to leave dry. Recommend if you don’t mind wiping off product from your face.

GLAMGLOW POWERMUD™ Dualcleanse Treatment Mask

This stung the shit out of my face. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or if my face was just frakking up at the time, but after using this, I broke out like I have never broken out before. (This makeup item is also on my list of suspects, but I’ve been using it for a while and I haven’t had the same bad reaction again.) I read a review on Sephora that claims this broke her out, too, and that she (like me) didn’t get acne very much. Wouldn’t recommend because it hurt my face and broke me out.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

Just alright! Nothing to write home about.

DryBar Sake Bomb Shampoo & Conditioner

I loved this tandem and was very sorry when my pithy packets ran out.

Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse Anti-Fatigue Moisturizing Cream

This was very nice and smelled very soothing. Very nice smell to fall asleep to. The moisturizing aspect didn’t stand out so much to me, but it was, on the whole, quite a pleasant cream.

Marie-Stella-Maris No 74 Body Lotion (Lemon Notes)

I got this from Angel (Nosy Beauty feature here), who lives in Amsterdam, where Marie-Stella-Maris is from. The lotion itself was a bit runny, which is good for humid climates, but part of me felt like it wouldn’t fare well in cold & dry places. It smelled a bit like it had ginger in it or something! Definitely lemon-y, but I felt like I smelled a bit like tinola, which is a local chicken soup that’s heavy on the lemon and ginger. Haha.

RMS Beauty the ultimate makeup remover wipe

Got this in my RMS order. Quite nice and effective; dreadfully smelled so much like coconut (understandably).

And, that’s a wrap! I’m going to keep using up my samples and report back with my findings. I have been having quite a bit of fun but had to stop with the creams and such when my face decided to act out. I have quite a few makeup samples, too, so those should be exciting.

* Although all samples are technically free (like as GWPs), items marked with an asterisk are PR Samples, as in I did not make a purchase that resulted in me acquiring them.

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