Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

Hyper-pigmentation has recently been an issue with me. I’m not sure whether it’s caused by hormonal imbalances, inadvertent sun exposure or some other external aggravators but I’m finding more tiny pigmentation marks appearing around the eye area this year. That is why I’m always on the lookout for products that promises to address pigmentation and even out skintone.

Having won Marie Claire's 2011 Prix De'Excellence International Award and garnering high praises everywhere else, I was very curious to try Clinique's re-formulated 'damage eraser'.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector - 30ml
  • Contains patent pending CL-302 complex which combines 5 ingredients to address pigmentation: Dianella Ensifolia, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Blackout Yeast Extract which addresses pigmentation by gently brightening skin and glucosamine and Salicylic Acid to normalise skin pigmentation over production and to help soften skin and increase cell turnover.  Other star ingredients which also tackle pigmentations are Acetyl glucosamine and grapefruit extract, another skin brightener to deliver a powerful anti-pigmentation punch. 
  • Is a light milky fluid with a pleasant scent, it absorbs easily and leaves no visible sheen or grease. You hardly realise it was there if not for skin being so much smoother and softer to the touch afterwards. 
  • Performs well with fading scar marks – my blemish marks from hormonal outbreaks were gone in 1 week when they normally take 3 or 4 weeks to fade on its own. 
  • Works equally well to prevent further darkening of freckles, sun spots or pigmentation. It really stops those marks on its tracks. 
  • Lightens existing pigmentations - after 4 weeks of daily use, the newly formed pigmentations are lighter and barely visible and are invisible under light makeup. The older pigmentation spots are slightly lighter, but I haven’t notice a big difference to say WOW yet. Skintone is definitely brighter and more even throughout . 
  • Treated early, this serum will definitely lighten and fade pigmentation spot and dark marks till they are barely visible. Whilst it won’t completely erase the older dark pigmentation marks, they do become lighter. 
In a nutshell:
This is now my go-to daily serum for hydration with the added surety that it's slowly helping to fade my existing pigmentation. I highly recommend this serum if you have pigmentation concerns and want to gently fade without irritations to skin that other more aggressive products may cause.

Water, dimethicone, isododecane, cyclopentasiloxane, polysilicone-11, butylene glycol, ascorbyl glucoside, peg-10 dimethicone, curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract,oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel extract, hordeum vulgare (barley) extract\extrait d'orge, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, betula alba (birch) bark extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, morus bombycis (mulberry) root extract, trametes versicolor extract, saccharomyces lysate extract, yeast extract\faex\extrait de levure, peg-6, tromethamine, salicylic acid, polysorbate 20, cholesterol, isohexadecane, propylene glycol dicaprate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seedcake, caffeine, tocopheryl acetate, acetyl glucosamine, simethicone, glycyrrhetinic acid, polysorbate 80, sodium hyaluronate, di-c12-18 alkyl dimonium chloride, sodium rna, squalane, sodium sulfite, sodium metabisulfite, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, disodium edta, phenoxyethanol, yellow 6 (ci 15985), yellow 5 (ci 19140)
RRP A$92 at Clinique counters now.
This product was provided for consideration.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Becca Brazillian Bronzing Sheen - Samba

I'm not a fan of powder bronzers as many products are muddy, orangey or streaky on me. Even the Great NARS Laguna hasn't quite really won me over yet.

So when a friend raved on about how amazing a cream product from Becca was, I knew it was only a matter of time before I decided to join her and find out what the fuss was about.

Becca Brazillian Bronzing Sheen - Samba 3g
  • Becca's packaging is beautiful and like the lip and cheek cremes, good things come in small packages. 
  • The shade in the compact is actually quite daunting - it is a deep caramel brown with hints of golden spun shimmer. There was no way I thought I could pull of the colour if it was true to pan. Thankfully this is a very sheer product that does work. 
  • Before you start thinking is is like a cream pigment, it isn't as it's not as rich or pigmented. It has a light balm or gel-like consistency that reminds me of Illamasqua's creme blushers and is scentless. Swiped on fingers it looks coppery bronze with no hints of orange or brown. When blended out, it just leaves a faint bronze sheen on my skin that looks alike a sexy and healthy sun-kissed glow. It blends easily and doesn't smear or look streaky.
  • You can use this product on its own, just layer to get more coverage and colour or over blushes give it the dewy sun-kissed look - either way the result is subtle and beautiful.
  • Samba in natural light (heavy and blended swatch)
  • I pop this on under the cheekbones to give my cheeks some bone structure - yes I use this for contouring and it works better than any other powder products I've tried to date (including MAC, Benefit, Smashbox). <3 <3 
  • I also swipe this on accent areas where sun would normally hit the skin - above the brown bones, on the sides of foreheads, and sides of nose to create shadow and give sheen to skin; the fine golden particles are very subtle and adds to the effect like I've been subtly kissed with fairy dust.
  • Lasting power wise, it stays on my skin for a good 4-5 hours. After that, the bronze does fade off and you will need to reapply if you want to keep the bronze look. The shimmer stick around all day long. 

Samba is not your typical bronzer. If you are after a sexy nude glow that is not over the top, you must look past the deep colour in the pan and try it out because it can definitely transform you into a Brazilian goddess.

Do you like using bronzers? which products do you like?

RRP A$46 at selected Myer and David Jones stores.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How To: Soft Romantic Waves for Spring

With Spring in the air for most of the Australian southern cities, it's time to look at let your hair down and get ready for the warmer weather and there no easier way to do that than by adding some waves into your look.

The loose wave is quick and easy to do and is soft, wispy and romantic - perfect for the longer days as well as evenings for a bit of socialisation with friends. This looks works best with hair just past the shoulders as those loose curls will just fall softly around the face to delicately frame it.

Today I have expert tips from Wella Styling Ambassador Travis Balcke to walk us through how to achieve the look in next to no time.
  1. Start with freshly shampooed and conditioned towel dried hair haired. If you are like me and have coloured your hair, make sure to use a colour-saving product (try Wella Care's Brilliance Shampoo and conditioner or if you feel you need extra conditioning powers, up the treatment level with the Brillaince Mask). 
  2. Apply a good amount of styling primer to prepare hair (use Wella Professional's Velvet Amplifer to coat and prime hair to give it more manageability and improve structure and hold during styling).  Then mist with Perfect Setting lotion at the roots to get hair more volume and shine. (If you don't have these products you can try working some light hold mousse through the roots of hair for similar results). 
  3. Proceed to crank up the hair dryer and blast hair dry upside down- to give maximum volume at the roots. 
  4. Take a 4cm section of hair from the top of head and using a hot roller, start to roll hair up in a brick pattern and secure hair to roller with a bobby pin. A brick pattern rolling technique is basically a technique used to roll or perm hair. Rather than straight rows, the sections are offset from the rods in the row above like how a brick layer would lay their bricks to minimise any gaps in hair and false lines and parties created for a more natural-looking wave pattern. 
  5. visual of the off-setting rollers in the brick lay technique
  6. Work your way down and roll the rest of the hair. Don't worry about being too perfect as the the curls will be brushed out later. 
  7. When the rollers are cool, take the rollers out and brush with a wide bristled hairbrush to tease the hair into soft loose waves.  Spray some hairspray to set the style and if required and finish off with some shine serum. 

the finished look - large soft waves
Products used:
*Wella Care Brilliance Shampoo and Conditioner 200ml - RRP A$24 each
*Wella Care Brilliance Mask 150ml - RRP A$25
Wella Professional Velvet Amplifier Styling Primer 50ml - RRP A$24
Wella Professional Perfect Setting Lotion 150ml - RRP A$24
Wella SP Exquisite Gloss Shine Concentrate 40ml - RRP A$37.00
Hot rollers
Bobby pins
Round bristle brush

What hair looks do you feel like rocking this spring season?

Wella Care and Professional products are available at selected salons nationally. Call 1300 885 002 for your nearest stocklist.

Products marked * were provided for consideration.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ciccone Lipsticks: Apollo, Cupid & Oceanus

There's no secret that I love bling as much as I love my beauty products. So when you give me something that marries the two together, it can only mean heaven on earth for me.

And this was the exactly the case when Ciccone decided to repackage their lipsticks to celebrate their 10-year anniversary.

For those who are not familiar with Ciccone (which, until recently includes yours truly), they are a Melbourne based company founded 10 years ago by husband and wife team Frank and Helen Ciccone who prides themselves in bringing women locally produced lipsticks that feels the way a lipstick should!

These lipsticks have been named after the gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology so you can inspire to be a goddess yourself with one of these. 

With the 10 year anniversary, the packaging of these lipsticks have been revamped and all I can say is HEART!

Ciccone lipstick: Apollo, Cupid, Oceanus
You only need to take this out after dinner for touch ups and everyone will be asking you about these pretties. The pick fushia casing is fun and girly and the brand name all decked out in diamante adding to the glamour of these beautifully presented lipsticks. 

What's inside the tubes is equally impressive. These are labelled as long lasting lipstick with high coverage that glides on and feel weightless on application and they weren't far off with these claims let me tell you. 
  • These are rich and super creamy on lips and although there was a slight tug, still managed to glide on fairly easily in a single swipe. In fact I can draw parallels on how these goes on my lips to Tom Ford lippies except they are a little less rich (and not as long lasting). Even the cocoa butter flavour is the same.
  • Pigment wise, of the 3 shades I've tried, the darker shades (Apollo and Oceanus) offer more opacity and colour payoff.  I'd put these as light coverage for the lighter shade and medium to full coverage for the deeper shades and all provide a soft sheen finish with with some shine. 
  • Contains evening primrose oil and jojoba oil (or ester to be technically correct), and vitamin to condition and protect lips and were very moisturising but after about an hour of wear, they start the feel dry on my lips and I'd definitely be slicking on a gloss to hydrate my super dry lips. They last for 3-4 hours without food before fading. The lighter shade Oceanus faded the quickest on me and Apollo was the longest wearing. 
The Shades
I found the shades from the promotional material including the website to be quite inaccurate. In real life ,they are quite different from what is being shown, so check out real life swatches of them on The Plastic Diaries and The Best Beauty Blog if you are plan on picking these up online. 
promotional material shades - very inaccurate!
Apollo, Cupid, Oceanus in real life
Ciccone lipsticks: Apollo, Cupid, Oceanus (natural light)

Apollo is a rich cocoa butter brown shade with a warm pink base. It flatters medium to deep skintone individuals and  on me, looks a darker version of my natural lip tones. This is a fail-safe office colour for many. 

Cupid a mid plum based pink tone that is quite cool upon initial application but warms ups after a few minutes when the pink shows through more. It should flatter all complexion types with cooler skintones pulling it off the best. I actually quite like this as an everyday shade that adds a pop of colour but is not too bright or loud. 

Oceanus is described as a light coral but I think it is more a salmon hue with light pink undertones. It is a very pretty shade but also the hardest of the shades tried to get an even finish as it is less opaque and seems to accentuate all my dry patches and settles on lines very quickly. It fares alot better when a lip conditioner is applied underneath for it to sit evenly on top but as you can see, is too sheer to cover my mid tone upper lips. This shade would look more flattering on those with lighter lip tones and/or on cooler complexions.  

I wished there were more shade options as I really enjoy the formulations of these lipsticks. They are rich, creamy and have a good amount of pigmentation and lasts a few good hours. Being pretty in bling and pink doesn't hurt them one bit either.

ingredients listing - click to enlarge

Ciccone lipsticks is available in 8 shades. RRP A$25 at selected pharmacies or online
This product was provided for consideration.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm going to ABBW & IMATS!

As most of you have seen from the badge on the right of my blog, I'll be heading up to Sydney next month (24th-25th September) for the inaugural Australian Beauty Blogger's Weekend aka ABBW. I've booked my flights and accommodation and am now on the hunt for a killer dress, I even have friends coming up with me so we can have the best of times - can you tell my excitement for this event??

It got even more exciting for me when I found out that IMATS which is also running on the same weekend at the Sydney Convention Centre has generously sponsored for all 85 perfectly primped and polished ladies crazy squealing and giddy bloggers to visit on IMATS on Saturday and I have even scored a session to hear the keynote presentation by maestro MUA Napolean Perdis that afternoon.

Yep, I'm that overwhelmed, I may just become a blubbering mess when I get to meet the maestro and one of my beauty blogger idol Elessa from Pursebuzz in the flesh.

What is even more exciting is the inordinate number of exhibitors in IMATS this year, including MAC for the first time in the Australian exhibition. But the most exciting thing for me is getting my hands on some Hakuhodo brushes (you all know what a brush junkie I am)!
Hakuhodo - the ultimate makeup brushes
The good news is that you don't need to be in the beauty industry or a blogger to attend IMATS. In fact, it's actually open to the pubic so any beauty addict can come and see all that there is on offer over the 2-day exhibit. Tickets are A$40 for either day or A$65 for entry for both days.

So tell me readers, will you be joining me at IMATS this year? 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gifting Ideas for Father's Day

With Fathers Day* just around the corner (it's next Sunday, September 4th people), have you decided on a present for Dad yet?
If not, here’s a couple of inspirations.

For the executive dad: chequered purple & mauve cufflinks from Benjamin Cufflinks classic range - A$49.01
For the skincare conscious dad: Kiehl’s Limited Edition Dopp Kit For Men contains the energising face wash, energising moisture treatment, eye depuffer, no-shine lip balm and ultimate man scrub soap -  A$99.00

For the gadget loving dad: Braun shaver 330N series 3  for a comfortable close shave with a floating cutting system that adapts to the facial contours and is water-rinsable for easy cleaning - A$179 (currently on sale for A$149 at David Jones).

For the sensual dad: try Ralph Lauren's limited edition Big Pony coffret with 4 different pony scents so he can be 1. sporty (lime and oak notes) , 2. seductive (chocolate and musk), 3. adventurous (mint and Ginger), and 4. stylish (pink grapefruit and kyara wood) - A$75  or
Armani Sports Code for the dad wanting to improve his art of seduction with notes of minty citrus, amber, ginger and cool woody velvetier  - 30ml A$84

For the fitness dad: Proform 2kg Wrist Weights $39.99 from Rebel Sports.
For the ultimate daredevil dad: a tandem skydiving experience from Red Balloon  from A$299.

What will you be getting for your dad this Father's Day?
Mine is getting a dinner and skincare as he is so vain!

*Father's day is celebrated in June in the northern hemisphere but in September for Australia and New Zealand

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator Serum

If one your main skin concerns is uneven skintone and dull complexion, and you hate relying on makeup to make your skin glow, then this product may just be the thing for you.

Launched in July, this latest skincare promises to dramatically reduce the appearance of uneven skintone. Does it live up to these claims?

Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator Serum
  • Boast tri-optic technology (read: light reflecting particles and colour correctors) that diffuses light to gives skin an even and immediate luminous pearlescent sheen. The brighteners here work subtly to give you a soft glow, it's very natural looking without any sign of the makeup look. LIKE! 
  • Contains a cocktail of ingredients that treat the 3 main contributors to uneven skintone: skin irritations causing redness and blotchiness, pigmentation, and free-radicals stressing skin. Let's take a closer look at the key ingredients lineup: 
    • Ascorbyl glucoside, and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, both forms of vitamin C that brighten skin and address pigmentation
    • resveratrol containing Japanese knotweed extract a powerful free-radical scavenger and another skin brightener 
    • Acetyl glucosamine helps fight and address pigmentation.
    • Grapeseed extract, licorice and Scutellaria Baicalensis for anti-allergen, anti-inflammatory properties to calm, soothe redness and irritations prevent flare ups. 
    • Antioxidant cocktail of rosemary extract, apple extract, pomergrante juice, and Nordihydroguaiaretic a potent anti-oxidant to protect skin from environmental stresses. 
    The ingredients in this product is indeed impressive. DOUBLE LIKE!
  • Smells divine with a sparkling citrus note that refreshes and awaken, the slipperly fluid readily absorbs into skin with no stickiness or greasy feeling. In fact skin feels like velvet silk afterwards thanks to the dimethicone.
light reflecting particles to give a pearlescent sheen
  • The next morning after use, I genuinely noticed that my skintone is even and brighter, as if I’ve had plenty of sleep and am having a good skin day glow. Using it twice a day for 3 weeks, along with my 15% vitamin C serum, I have seen a dramatic improvement to the newer light pigmentation marks (they are no longer visible unless I squint closely to examine them). There is however, no visible difference to older pigmentation spots yet. 
  • Skin is hydrated (thanks to the hyaluronic acid), radiant, smooth to touch and very much plumped up after using this serum. My skintone is remarkably even around the eye (apart from the dread dark circles that I can’t get rid of) and fresh blemish marks fade within a week of use. I dare say my skin looks so radiant on it's own I've gone out bare-faced on weekends. 
  • Wanting to make sure it was the product that was giving me the bright glowy skin, I decided to stop using the product for a few days. Sure enough, my complexion started to show signs of dullness and sallowness after 4 days. Needless to say, I starting piling on the product again after that to maintain the my healthy glow. 
I've been very impressed with Estee Lauder this year, their skincare products just seem to get better and this latest one is by far my favourite daily serum. It does everything it claims to and gives me positively radiant skin. I will definitely be refilling when I finish my precious bottle. 

Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyethylene, Propanediol, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Petrolatum, Butylene Glycol, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Hypnea Musciformis (Algae) Extract, Gellidiela Acerosa (Algae) Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Selaginella Tamariscina (Spike Moss) Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Juice, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Algae Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Yeast Extract, Cholesterol, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Linolenic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Caffeine, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Sucrose, Squalene, Phytosterols, Lactoperoxidase, Polysorbate 40, Glucose Oxidase, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Jojoba Alcohol, Isopropyl Jojobate, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Jojoba Esters, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Acetyl Glucosamine, Trehalose, Glucose, Isohexadecane, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Polysilicone-11, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polysorbate 80, Tromethamine, PEG-8, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Polyglyceryl-3 Disiloxane Dimethicone, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocotrienols, Sodium Hyaluronate, Magnolia Grandiflora Bark Extract, Phospholipids, Tocopherol, Pinanediol, Camphanediol, Potassium Sulfate, Laureth-12, Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Triolein, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Cyclodextrin, Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride, Silica, Tin Oxide, Phenoxyethanol May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Carmine, Bismuth Oxychloride, Yellow 5

RRP A$105 30ml | A$150 50ml at Estee Lauder counters or online

 This product was provided for consideration.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Win: Chanel, Gucci, Estee Lauder and More

Ok folks, I've finally finished and submitted my CV and have ploughed through this week's work deadlines so no more excuses or delays. I promised you a fabulous giveaway and I'm here to serve and deliver today.

This week is a collection I've put together especially for you lovely readers.

The prize includes:
  • Estee Lauder single eyeshaow in Enchanted Meadow (L.E from the Blue Dahlia collection)
  • Smashbox Fusion eyeshadow strip palette in Merge 
  • Chanel Glossimer lipgloss in Peitit Peche (L.E from Fall 2010 Collection)
  • Flora by Gucci EDT minature sampler 5ml 
  • And 2 other high-end mystery products thrown in just to make it a nice surprise when you receive your prize. 

How to enter:

  • All you need to do is fill in a short survey below to help me make this blog a better one as it enters its second year. Too easy!
  • This giveway is open to all subscribers of Things I love (either via Google Friend Connect or email) including international readers. Not yet a subscriber - Why are you hesitating?
  • Limit of 1 entry per person.
  • The giveaway will run until 11.59PM AEST Friday 2nd September and the winner randomly selected and published on this blog by 4th September.
Good Luck everyone!
**This Giveaway is now closed **

Monday, August 22, 2011

Goldwell DualSenses Extra Rich Color Winners

It's been a hectic Sunday in TV-land with the grand finale of The Block and the premiere of UnderBelly: Razor (overseas readers, these are 2 very popular TV shows showing in Australia). We saw tears, laughter, a surprise engagement in the hit reality home renovation show and then portrayal of the roaring 20s  with some sex, drugs and gangster violence in the third series of Underbelly. In the midst of all excitement last night, I drew out the winners of the Goldwell DualSenses Extra Rich Color giveaway.

So if you have had a bad or hectic start to the working week, you might just be consoled that little bit if you happen to be the winners of this amazing hair care prize. Congratulations to
 Catrina Murray

To the two lucky ladies, please get in touch with me ( to give me your delivery details and I'd be posting your prizes over to you this week. You have until the end of Wednesday 24th to get in touch but if I don't hear from you after that, I'll be redrawing new winners. 

If you've missed out this time, don't fret. I've got more competitions coming right up so keep a lookout for them!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reader Request: Nars Orgasm v Milani Luminous

NARS is a brand that beauty afficinados are drawn to for their beautiful formulas, silky smooth textures and amazingly rich pigmenations as well as a bold range of shades.

The most famous of NARS products has got to be their best selling blushes and the most renown is the headline grabbing Orgasm - a peachy pink shade with a golden sheen that gives you a glow as if you have achieved the big "O".

Many have tried to locate a duplicate for Organism as is often the case with great products, the price puts it out of reach for anyone who is on a tight budget but still want to look their best. You will read in many forums and blogs that many claim Milani's Luminous blush is a very close dupe for Orgasm.

In my mind, to be is considered a dupe - it has to be 95-100% the same in shade, texture and finish. Otherwise it is just a close match so when I was asked by a reader to swatch these two, it was a great opportunity to see if it would meet my criteria of a dupe.

Both shades are classed as peachy pinks mixed and has the same finely milled golden shimmer that produces that glowing effect on skin.

Orgasm is more a vibrant peach than Luminous. In the pan, Lumionous is a lighter pink base so goes on lighter on skin and there is just slightly more gold shimmer in Orgasm than Luminous. Both colours work universally well on all complexions but I think Luminous is just slightly more flattering on cooler skintones.

In natural light
Luminous feels more powdery than Orgasm in comparison (you can see this in the swatches) but this is not a criticism as it stands well on its own.

lasting power wise - both performed quite similar and I still had a slight pink in my cheeks and the glow was still every much evident at the end of the day.
side-by-side comparison (natural light)
Both are very pretty shades of the same peach family but in no way would I call them dupes. They are at best a 70% match so those who are still seeking for an O-ternative will have to keep looking but I would say nothing beats the original O.

What have you tried that you think are dupes of higher-end shades and products?

NARS blushes A$49 is available in Mecca and Mecca Maxima stores.
Milani blushes US$6.49 is available online at Cherry Culture.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Goldwell StyleDesign Melting Diamonds

Given that this is part of this week's giveaway prize pack, there isn't a more opportune time than now to take a closer look at this product.

Goldwell StyleDesign Melting Diamonds 50ml 
  • Newest addition to Goldwell's styling range it's not just another glossing serum, but a beautifully scented that gives hair shine in the light and controls frizz and fly aways. 
  • Colour safe and in fact provides lasting protection for colour treated hair with vitamin E and bamboo extract.
  • You only need the tiniest amount of this light dimethicone fluid in the palm of your hand to smooth through hair ( I like to work at the ends first and a light coating near the scalp for those pesky short fly-away pieces for silky soft finishes. 
  • suitable for normal to thick hair (fine hair-types may find this too heavy and weighing on hair).
Always handy to have, this serum will have your hair sleek, glossy and shining like it's coated in diamonds all day long.

Ingredient listing
dimethicone, trisiloxane, dimethiconol, diethylhexyl carbonate, alcohol denat., trimethyl pentaphenyl trisiloxane, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, isopropyl alcohol, tocopheryl acetate, phytantriol, benzophenone-3, bambusa vulgaris (bamboo) extract, PEG-8, fragrance/parfum
RRP A$22.95 at selected salon nationally.
This product was provided for consideration.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Win Goldwell DualSenses Extra Rich Color Haircare

The blog's inaugural birthday celebration continues this week with another giveaway and what a package I have for you hair lovers this week.

Thanks to Goldwell, you could be the envy of friends and colleagues which this protecting and restoratiEve haircare pack from the DualSenses range which not only smells divine but has the quick acting quick-acting Microfluid technology and pomergranite extract and UV filters to protect your rich new hair colour. 

** This Giveaway is now closed **
What you can win:
  • Color Extra Rich Shampoo 300ml
  • Color Extra Rich Conditioner 300ml 
  • Color Extra Rich 60sec Treatment 200ml (reviewed here)
  • Gloss StyleSign Melting Diamonds Brilliance Drops 50ml (reviewed here)

How to win:
  1. Be a follower of this blog via Google Friend Connect or a subscriber via email. 
  2. Comment below on what is the one thing you want to change about your hair and note down how you are subscribed to this blog. 
  3. For an extra entry, tweet about this competition and at @lilpil99 so I can track your tweets. 

Giveaway terms & Conditions
  • This competition will run until Sunday 21st August 8:00pm AEST. 
  • 2 winners will be drawn randomly the day after 21st August and announced on the blog.
  • Open to Australian residents only (international readers, the next competion will include you)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Illamasqua Blog Birthday Giveaway Winners

The Blog birthday Illamasqua giveaway is now closed and the winners have been freshly drawn using 
The 2 lucky winners are:
  • Dee 
  • thegirlwithabow
Congratulations lovelies! Please email me ( with your postal details so I can post the products to you. If I don't hear from the winners in 48 hours time, I will be redrawing new winners. 

Kit Cosmetics Lipstick in Freedom Fighter

Part of the Viva La Color limited edition range, Freedom Fighter is a vibrant and warm coral pink that would put a cheer to anyone's face.

This was the shade from my recent Kit makeover and it was love at first swipe.

On the tube, it looks to be more of an orange coral but once applied to my mid tone tips, it is a pretty coral with a warm pink undertone.

It's a medium bordering on full coverage with a creamy satin finish completely blanks out my natural lip tone for the sophisticated polished look that power lip colours exude.  The formula is wicked and doesn't feather or show up the dryness on my lips. Best of all,  it stayed on my lips for over 4 hours without any touch up - it's a winner on all fronts!

This product was provided for consideration.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kit Cosmetics Viva La Color Makeover

Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing a colourful makeover at Kit Cosmetics Myer to celebrate the launch of the fiesta inspired range of Viva La Color collection (previewed here).

My makeup artist for the day was Ciara and she made me feel right at home as soon as I sat down, making sure that I had a mineral water on hand and proceeded to cleanse my face of the day's grease and makeup and put on the latest Super skincare range from Perricone to prep, nourish and protect my skin.

Ciara explained all benefits of the products she used on me in the Super range, which comes packed with power anti-oxidants of Acai, melon, and watercress.
Super range by Perricone used to prep my skin
After skincare came the makeup, the latest Kit mineral liquid foundation was used for a even flawless canvas with its self priming property and as I wanted to learn how to have killer cheekbones, she worked on giving me a contoured cheek using the Smashbox contouring kit.

The Smashbox contouring kit ($65.95) is a trio of contour bronzer and highlighter to give depth and shadows in all the right areas of the face for that chiselled look.

This was then finished off with eye liner, mascara then the vivala color lipstick in Freedom Fighter (swatch of that up tomorrow). I instantly fell in love with this fiercely vibrant coral pink hue and was over the moon when it was included into my take home kit along with the liquid mineral foundation.
Makeup used for my look
After the makeover with Ciara
I also took the opportunity while I was at the Kit counter to pick up Soap and Glory's Heel Genius in the hope that will transform my rough dry horse hooves into smooth kissable heels. Stay tune for review of that soon!

A special thanks to the wonderful ladies at EG PR for organising this makeover for me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Becca Lip & Cheek Crèmes: Tuberose, Geranium, Rosebud

Today I have a review on another crème based product. This time it's a lip & cheek crème from Becca, an Aussie owned cosmetic icon founded by make-up artist Rebecca Morrice.

Becca aims to create flawless natural looks for every women regardless of their age or ethnicity - from the fairest to the darkest complexions and impressively carries 34 concealer and 30 foundation shades in its line up to match every skin colour!

Becca Lip & Cheek Creme - 3g 

L-R: Rosebud, Tuberose, Geranium

I tried my first Becca lip & cheek crème over a year ago and have been a fan of them ever since.

The first thing you'll notice when you see these is how small in size they are, the compact is about double the size of a 20-cent piece and doesn't look like there's much content inside. The mirrored compact is encased in a brown rubberised exterior with a stainless steel disc with the Becca name imprinted on it. 

In natural light
  • A dense creamy texture and highly pigmented, each swipe is quite strong in colour. You really need to dot very sparingly if using fingers on brighter colours to avoid looking too flushed. Thankfully they are incredibly easy to blend so even if you do end up with too much colour, it can easily be toned down.
  • Has a smooth creamy consistency and is easy blending  - a must if cream blushes are to give natural finishes. And these one tick all the boxes as it achieve looks just like you own natural flush because there is no sheen or shimmer in the finish, just beautiful flattering colour. 
  • I love using a synthetic cheek brush (MAC 192 cheek brush which is  very similar to a large concealer brush) to apply this to cheeks because it's even easier to blend the product into skin. 
  • Lasting-power wise, they easily survived the 8-hour day and more. I have to admit these beat Illamasqua by a couple of hours. My cheeks still look flushed and freshly applied even at night so those who find cream blushes doing the disappearing act will love these becca blushes. 
  • As a lip tint, I found the creamy formula quite sheer on my brownish tone lips and shows up my dry bits as well as drying them out after an hour. Besides, it seems quite wasteful to use what little bit of it (only 3g of goodness here in each compact) as a lip product as you use more per application for lips than cheeks.
The Shades
  • Rosebud is a soft ballet pink. It reminds me of the budding cherry blossom flowers that are starting to bloom on the streets as we head into spring. This looks like a natural flush of pink on fairer skin and gives just a slight hint of colour for warmer complexions for the barely there look.  
  • Tuberose is my favourite shade of the three and I wore it everyday for almost a month last summer. It is a coral pink shade that is universally flattering on all skin tones. 
  • Geranium is a rich brick red shade. Scary on the pan and it can be too bright on cheeks on fairer skins so only dab the tiniest amount for use as a little goes a long way. This shows up well on the deepest skintone and on me, looks like I'm flushed with fever if I'm not light-handed enough.

Tuberose immediately reminds me of Illamasquas Dixie and so I decided to do a side-by-side comparison below.
Dixie and Tuberose.
In the pan they look very similar save for the difference in texture. When swatched you can see that Dixie is sheerer due to the gel finish with a slight sheen, and tuberose has a more pink base. But when worn on the face, one could be mistaken as they are very similar in shade and tone once blended out.

Becca's lip & cheek crème  is a real winner as a cheek product but is no dice as a lip colour - they should be renamed to just cheek crèmes as the formula is amazing on cheeks and one of the best I've ever tried. 

Have you tried any products from Becca before? What are your favourites?

RRP A$46 at selected David Jones stores, selected chemists and AdoreBeauty online. Check here for your nearest stocklist.

If you are in Melbourne, Zuza in Melbourne Central currently have 50% off all their Becca products so pick them up for a steal.