Monday, 30 December 2013

EOTD/REVIEW: MUA Purple #9...

Have I mentioned I'm a huge Makeup Academy ("MUA", UK company) eye shadow fan? Lol I'm sure I have, but it's time to rave on some more because in my opinion, this is close to being the most brilliant shadow in my kit - Pearl #9, a fabulous purple/blue duochrome. The pigmentation is astounding - so deep and rich, the texture is deliciously creamy, and it takes so little building to create the boldest, sassiest purple eye with a divine blue reflect :-)

Note: this eye shadow costs 1 pound, or converted to AUD, $1.85 - unbelievable! Of course there's heaps of other colours in the range, although not all are available all the time (while writing this I can see that this #9 is not listed - boo!). I have half a dozen or so of the pearls, and I featured the emerald (#6) back in November. They also make five matte shades for the same ridiculous price - I reckon they are as good as the ones made by theBalm, silky smooth and easy to blend, and I use #17 (biscuity beige) every single day to cover up the discolourations on my hoods, and to help make them appear a little less prominent. Sometimes I blend it with the brown (#19), and the charcoal (#20) is a favourite for in the crease to give some added definition.

Occasionally MUA has super duper sales e.g. 30% off with 20 pound minimum spend, and sometimes free postage, but even with $14 shipping, they are still one of the best value shadows on the planet. I've had mixed success with their other products, but their shadows are in a league of their own. The pearls can be used either wet or dry, and they last all day without creasing or fading. For this look I applied the purple dry on the top lid, and with a moist brush on the lower lashline - it's a bit hard to tell from these photos, but like most shimmer shadows, it turns out even more reflective when damp.

As a base I applied Face of Australia Budge Proof Gel Eyeliner in Pure Purple, and patted the MUA #9 over the top using a medium sized soft angled brush. Then I added a fine line of amethyst from the Mirenesse Pearl Crush Creaseless Shadows Baroque Pearls palette in the crease - I often do this with a matte to reduce the likelihood of the shimmery shadow transferring to my hoods. Along the lower lashline is MNY Master Precise Liquid Liner blended with #9, and on the waterline, Mirenesse Mineral Face Gel Colour in Aquamarine.

I created this look to go with another stunning jewellery set that my darling Dad gave me for my birthday - a Swarovski heart pendant with matching earrings. The deep purple crystal has a turquoise reflect in it that only shows up in certain lighting situations, and MUA #9 couldn't have been a more perfect match 

This will be my last blog post for 2013 - to all you wonderful folk who have supported my blogging baby steps over the last 3 months, I thank you with all my heart. I hope the next year keeps you and those dear to you happy, safe and healthy, and that you'll join me for a chat or two in 2014 

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Sunday, 29 December 2013

SPOTLIGHT: Fragrance Miniatures Part 1...

My Summer Scents series seemed to be popular, so rather than wait till Autumn for the cool weather bunch, I thought I'd share my collection of miniatures. I keep these bottles separate from my every day fragrances as the majority of them I wear only sporadically - they're not divided into seasons either as when I do use them, it's to create a specific mood at any time of the year.

Some of these have been gifts, some GWPs and others I've bought simply to try them out - the size is just so handy to pop into my bag as I race out the door, and I love that the bottles are a reasonably true representation of the full-size product :-)  So...starting from the back row...

Lancôme Hypnôse, eau de parfum

When I first received this fragrance it was the palest blue-lilac. That was over 12 months ago, and although I keep my perfumes away from both light & heat, the colour has changed to more of a smokey amethyst. The fragrance has changed too - for the better! Before the transformation I found the vanilla note way too intense, but that seems to have softened, and I can now appreciate the other elements, which I believe are vetiver & passionflower with a splash of jasmine. My version of it is now what I would call a woody oriental, which I adore, and I'm so glad I didn't toss it or give it away :-) Of course, perfume purists will say I should in fact ditch it as it's obviously been affected by something or other, but one thing I'm definitely not is a purist! I should say that this fragrance has also lost some of it's original potency, but I'm glad because in it's true state, I found it a tad overwhelming.

Oops I've just realised that this review probably isn't much help to anyone wondering if this is the fragrance for them, so my beautyheaven review of it in it's untainted form is here. Secretly though, I'm so glad I revisited it for this article - it's as if I have a whole new fragrance :-)

Ô de Lancôme, eau de parfum

This is a green perfume, both in colour and definition. Very clean and summery, citrusy and cooling, and reminds me of Diorella or maybe even Eau Sauvage. It's more feminine than CKone (it has honeysuckle, lily of the valley and jasmine) and as of this morning, I think I prefer it - what a pity it's such a teeny bottle ha ha. At first it's a bit soapy, but the musk becomes more apparent as it dries down, all the while keeping it's fresh herbally tang. I'm hopeless at picking ingredients, but for those who are interested, this apparently also contains rosemary, basil, moss, and vetiver. My beautyheaven review of it is here

CK Obsession Night, eau de parfum

Hmm, definitely an earthy quality about this one. Come April you'll read that the original Obsession is my autumn/winter must have, but this version doesn't resemble it in the slightest. More woody than anything else, it's also has a subtle floral content, and an almost musty leather quality at first that may not appeal to everyone, and certainly put me off initially. The amber and sandalwood base becomes more apparent after it's been on the skin for a while, as does the vanilla - half an hour later it's really quite lovely, but I was hoping for something a bit more potent and mysterious from a "Night" fragrance. This miniature is the only one in my collection that is a spray.

Lancôme Trésor in Love, eau de parfum

With flash so you can see some of the rose detail
I should really buy a BIG bottle of this - I love it so much it could almost become my signature fragrance. Isn't the bottle just divine? And what's inside is heavenly, such a romantic perfume, I mean this is the essence of femininity, and has an angelic peachy-pink hue. I'm a total sucker when it comes to Turkish Rose, and being the heart of this fragrance, I think that's why I'm utterly powerless to resist its charms. The base is cedar, and the top notes are all fruits - bergamot, nectarine, peach and sour pear (really?), although to my nose it's a pure floral. Classy and in my book, destined to become an all-time classic, this works so beautifully with my skin chemistry and envelops me in a comforting embrace. The original Trésor is another one of those that makes my teeth ache - so many of my gal pals love it, but on me it smells like rotting fruit lol. However Trésor in Love is "my precious" and I keep this gem strictly for very special occasions. My 5-star beautyheaven review of it is here.

Part 2 is in the pipeline...

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Friday, 27 December 2013

EOTD: Turquoise & Coral...

Not exactly a Christmas theme, but it's what I wore on the big day :-)  As with the majority of my looks, it was to match an outfit, which in turn was to match a stunning jewellery set my parents gave me for my recent birthday. The colours in the necklace, earrings and bracelet are actually teal, coral pink and dark blue, but in the photos, the teal looks more turquoise, so I'm tagging it turquoise & coral :-)

I used two bases - Mirenesse Mineral Face Gel Colour in Blue Moon on the inner half, and MNY Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk on the outer section. Over the top of the blue and along the lower lashline I applied essence Metal Glam in Jewel Up the Ocean (isn't this just the most stunning pigment?), and the coral pink was from the L.A.Colors Wildflowers palette.

For some extra oomph, I patted the Mirenesse Blue Moon gel onto the waterline...

And here's the jewellery, and the whole look.  For lips I used essence Lipliner in Honey Bun, SAX Rich Lip Colour Lipstick in Coral, and Mirenesse 3D Forever Gloss in Lust Me. Cheeks are ModelCo Blush Cheek Powder in Peach Bellini :-)

Hope your Christmas Day was everything you hoped it would be 

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

More of Nature's Gifts...

Allow me to introduce you to another fabulous female in my life - her common name is Queen of the Night (lol nothing common about that!), but her botanical name is Epiphyllum Oxypetalum. For most of the year, she is a rather tatty looking cactus, but once the warmer weather in September comes around, she produces several crops of the most magnificent flowers until about the end of March. Usually one or two at a time, but however many there are, there's a catch - they bloom...
...for one night only!

I'm so proud of this photo! - it was taken with my 8mpx phone camera, and my makeup light positioned behind her..

The whole concept of a plant that flowers under the cover of darkness (and withers by morning) fascinates me. Why does she keep her beauty hidden from all except her devoted followers? I'm saying that because unless you watch her closely, AND stay up late, you can easily miss the whole glorious event. As you can see, her flower is extraordinarily stunning, but that's only half the story - the fragrance she produces is like no other, potent, heady and sweet with a tinge of astringency, and it wraps itself around you, stays with you for hours after you've breathed it in...

Round one was about a month ago when she produced two flowers (which I missed!), but for her second attempt this season I was blessed with five blooms that opened on the same night - oh my, what an amazing show, and what a festival of fragrance! I could smell the perfume in every room of the house :-)

Here's how she starts - you know when she's about to pop because her alien-looking bud starts to swell, and the outer pink petals begin to curl backwards...

Photo taken around 8pm

These pics were taken roughly every 20 minutes or so, until she opened fully...


Here she is full-frontal, in all her glory...

Closeups of her inner beauty...

And the whole plant at around 11pm, when sadly I just HAD to retire...

All the above photos feature the flower on the left
And here she is next morning...

Her transformation from weird looking Triffid to magical bloom is nothing short of miraculous. Sigh...but all that effort and magnificence...just for a few hours?  Nature truly is mysterious 

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S   E V E R Y O N E !

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Monday, 23 December 2013

EOTD: Party Pastels...

No doubt because my beautyheaven blogstar article had way too many pictures (!), the looks below ended up on the bh cutting room floor, but I'm including them here because, well, it's the height of the party season, plus they were a big part of my experimentation with pastels rather than bold shades, and it would be a pity for them to not see the light of day....

Peaches 'N' Cream...

Gee I reckon this is such a gorgeous shade for summer :-) essence White Kajal as a base, followed by off-white (I call it oyster) from the DB Bold palette along the top lashline, and shimmery orange (I call it terracotta) from the same palette over the rest of the top lid and underneath…

Lime 'N' Lilac...

These two colours were made for each other. This is essence White Kajal as a base, lilac from the L.A.Colors Venus Baked Eyeshadow palette, and lime green pearl (shade 5) from Makeup Academy

And just to complete the set here's the one that was published, and judging by the comments, seemed to be a fave :-)

Pink 'N' Teal...

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Sunday, 22 December 2013

EOTD: Apricot and...?

Back in November, I posted an apricot EOTD and mentioned how I thought this shade would go particularly well with certain other hues from the rainbow. My comment seemed to generate some interest from a few of you lovelies, so I've done three new looks, this time pairing this gorgeously feminine shade with olive, pink and purple...

Apricot and Olive...

Base: MNY Color Tattoo in Fierce & Tangy
Apricot from the Bronze Maybelline New York Hyperdiamonds palette 
Olive from the Napoleon Peridis Prismatic Eye Quad #7

Apricot and Purple...

Base: MNY Color Tattoo in Fierce & Tangy
Apricot from the Bronze Maybelline New York Hyperdiamonds palette 
Purple from the Physicians Formula Fashionista palette

Apricot and Pink...

Base: MNY Color Tattoo in Fierce & Tangy
Apricot from the Bronze Maybelline New York Hyperdiamonds palette 
Medium pink from the L.A.Colors Wildflowers palette

Three totally different looks, all using the same base and the same apricot shadow.  My personal favourite? Hmmm, tough call - I love the calming softness of the apricot/olive combo, but my passion for vibrant colour has me leaning towards the apricot/pink one :-)

Which one do you like best?

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Saturday, 21 December 2013

SPOTLIGHT: Summer Scents Part 3...

And finally, the colourless eau de toilettes :-) In case you missed them, Part 1 (purples) is here, and you'll find Part 2 (pinks) here :-)

Japanese Cherry Blossom by The Body Shop, eau de toilette

This has long been a fave eau de toilette. Sometimes I just want something that gives me a freshening flowery lift without making a statement, and this does the job perfectly. In fact I love the whole range and always have the shower gel and body lotion on my shelves. It's obviously a floral, but it's light and not at all sickly sweet like some "blossom" fragrances. I believe there's a bit of apple in the formula - I can't say I can detect it, but that particular ingredient is probably what tempers the sweetness to make it just the right mix :-)

Fleurs de Brignoles by L'Occitane, eau de toilette

The name translates as Plum Blossom - more sophisticated than cherry, this is a limited edition in a huge 100ml angular shaped (I think it's called a parallelogram) bottle that I managed to pick up for half price from a pharmacy. It's an inspired mix of floral & fruit with a soft powder finish, and just enough bitter almond to make it interesting. Can't imagine this scent upsetting anyone - on my skin it is light, feminine and alluring, and every sniff reminds me how wonderful it is to be a woman :-)

CK one by Calvin Klein, eau de toilette

This is the only outright green citrus in my collection, and also the only unisex fragrance that I actually enjoy. On super hot days, this is the one that cools me down. It's quite a contrast to the other girly ones on my shelf, and considering it's a toilette, really packs a punch if you overdo it. But the crispness just grabs me on days when the temperature soars, especially after physical exertion. I swear just looking at the frosted bottle makes me feel cooler ha ha. If you're looking for zesty and zingy, lemony & sporty, and don't mind something a bit fella-ish, then CK one will do it for you. I find this fragrance energising & envigorating, and definitely not romantic :-)

Well that wraps up my current warm weather fragrance faves - I'll be posting the other half of my collection around April. Of course they are far more intense than any of the ones I've showcased in this series, and they are far fewer in number, but all of them have a precious place in my heart (and nose), and I'm already looking forward to the seasonal switch.

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Friday, 20 December 2013

EOTD: Christmas Red, Green & Gold...

These days Christmas can be any colour or combination of colours of the rainbow and I'm all in favour of that - the more the merrier I say, though I admit to being somewhat of a traditionalist. Red, green and shimmery gold will always be my favourite Christmas hues, and the ones that never fail to jingle my bells :-)

So here's another look, similar to one included in my recent Party Peepers article over at beautyheaven, but  (I think) sufficiently different to warrant it's own post - besides it's heaps more sparkly!...

So here's the list of ingredients I used for this concoction...

I started with a red base of Darling Girl Cosmetics Pyramid of Skulls Watercolor Paint Pot
Over that I patted down red from DB Glam Clutch palette, topped with MAC Glitter in Reflects Bronze
On the outer corners and under the lower lashes, I applied Fern from the SleekV2 Matte palette...

Of course I included all the usual suspects...
bhcosmetics black liquid liner for tightlining the top lid
MNY Master Precise Liquid Liner underneath the green shadow on the lower lashline
Essence white kajal on the waterline
MNY The Falsies waterproof mascara
And MUA matte beige on the hood...

I really like how the MAC glitter toned down the red to a more subtle hue, and overall I think this look is more wearable (so long as you're a colour-crazy gal like me lol) :-) 

Now that I'm on holidays (hooray!) I'm hoping to do some major catching up with my EOTD postings before we say a fond farewell to 2013, including the results of my experiments pairing apricot with three other colours, so stay tuned :-)

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

LOTD: Mocha Chocolata YaYa...

Well now I even surprised myself with this lip colour :-) I've managed to try out just about every lip shade imaginable in my longish life, but somehow or other, hadn't gotten around to really giving chocolates and browny tones a whirl. I guess I thought they were a bit dreary for this vibrant colour-loving gal, but like so many other hues in the vast beauty world, I've now figured I probably just hadn't found the right shade. Not even sure if this is the "right" one, but it sure was fun experimenting :-)

To do this properly, I thought I'd better invest in a brown lipliner, and chose Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses in the shade Cappuccino. Nice texture, moist without being so soft that the tip gets squished out of shape before finishing the application, and a bargain price point ($8.50). Was a little alarmed at how it accentuated the wrinkles and creases in my lips, but I reckon that's just because it's dark - same thing happens on my hoods when I use deep toned shadows...

Next I applied Innoxa Couleurs D'ete Summer Matte Collection in the shade Chocolate. Yet another item that came to me from a friend (in case you're wondering I DO in fact BUY makeup products lol, it's just that my darling friends always seem to choose what's perfect for me, I'm such a spoilt and lucky gal ) A most interesting colour, and a fabulously pigmented and super softening lipstick. I'm not sure why they call it matte because it has quite a glossy sheen, but who cares - it lasts really well and doesn't dry out my lips...

To shift the shade into something slightly more wearable for me and to lift it closer to a summer-friendly hue, I applied Mirenesse 3D Forever Lip Gloss in Slip of Beige over the top. It didn't change the colour all that much, just gave it a bit of softness and a smidgen more warmth and light. Of all the Mirenesse lip glosses, this is my favourite formula, and never disappoints...

I'll be playing around some more with these shades as we move into Autumn - meanwhile, how do you feel about chocolatey lips? Do you have a favourite brown toned lip product?

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Sunday, 15 December 2013

EOTD: Christmas Berry Ombre...

As you all know, EOTD's are an everyday thing for me - they're what I love to do, and a very important (and fun) part of my life. Nothing makes me more settled than to start my day doing something creative with colours and textures. As a rule, I'm reasonably happy with the majority of them, but every now and then I create one that gives me an even more satisfying sense of achievement than usual....

So I'm doing a bit of ra-ra trumpet blowing here ha ha - I LOVE this! Turned out way better than I thought it would, and the combination of red and white brings to mind Santa's suit, red nose (or is that Rudolf?) and white beard, so I'm including it in the Christmas collection :-)

At my age, I have to be verrrrry careful with deep pink and berry red eye shadows - if these colours end up anywhere outside my natural eye boundaries or even along the lower lashline, you'd swear I'd been bawling my eyes out for a week. As it is I spend quite a bit of time and effort covering up pinky patches in various places on my face (including my eye hoods), and so playing with these pigment tones is always a risk, unless I'm super careful with the placement.

How to create this look.. (what I used is in brackets)
Tight line the top lash line with a black waterproof eye liner
(bhcosmetics black liquid liner pen)
Apply a white crayon or gel on the inner half of the top lid as a base
(essence white kajal)
Apply a reddish crayon or gel on the outer half
(MNY Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk)
Press an off-white shimmery shadow onto the inner one third of the eye
(Pearly oyster white from the db Bold palette)
Add a medium pink to the middle third, and a deep berry shade on the outer section
(L.A.Colors Wildflowers palette pictured below)

As you can see I'm about to hit pan on the raspberry - gaaaaaah!
Tight line the lower lashline with a fine black eyeliner
(MNY Master Precise Liquid Liner)
Blend a browny red matte shadow over the top of the liner using a moist angled liner brush, and take it up and around the outer corner
(Maple from Sleek V2 Matte palette)
Apply mascara to top and bottom lashes
(MNY The Falsies waterproof)
Line the waterline with a white pencil
(essence white kajal)

Are you comfortable wearing berry shades? Do you think the ombre effect works as well for eyes as it does for nails?

Take care of you,
kats xxx