Does This Thing Really Work? – Kmart Makeup Blender

This story goes like pretty much every story I tell — I was wandering through Kmart the other day, just browsing, not looking for anything in particular, trying my damn hardest to not buy those BYS Oval Brushes because $20 for a BYS product seems like BS to me but I’ll still curious — and then I found this. From the outside, packaging aside, this “makeup blender” looks strangely similar to a Beauty Blender, and considering it was only $3 it was definitely a better alternative to give in to given it’s competition was those brushes. This is described as a sponge which will allow you to blend your primer or foundation easily  for a smooth and even look. It is made of latex free sponge, and according to the packaging, can be hand washed according to instructions on the care label. If you want to know where you can pick one up, they’re on the Kmart Australia website here  or I’m sure there will be one in store in one of it’s many colours – I know the store nearest to me wasn’t lacking these sponges.

The comparative sponge which I’ll be holding this up to is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, which is a holy grail product as part as I’m concerned. I use it almost everyday, whether to blend out my foundation if I have a little more time, or to get my concealer into the corners of my eyes when I’m looking particularly tired — it’s one of those products that has held up to the harshest treatment, which is evident in the way I scrub them when cleaning them on my brush mat, and they’re still as wonderful as they were the day I got them – I know I was skeptical in that review, but considering I got two for $23.63 AUD it was pretty much one of the greatest investments I have made in a beauty tool to date, and I regret nothing. That being said, this little sponge has a lot to live up to given just how much I’ve come to love the Real Techniques ones!

Dry: In terms of size, it’s incredibly similar to the Real Techniques sponge, although they differ significantly in shape. This is very much that Beauty Blender type shape, rounded with a tapered point and considering I’ve really come to love the flat side I was initially wondering how this would go down. It’s also quite hard when dry, not rock hard by any means but it has an incredibly dense feeling about it. It’s also quite smooth, and there’s really not apparent texture which my Real Techniques sponges have acquired over time. Basically, this feels no different to any other sponge that I’ve tried or looked at. I tried to blend out a little of my favourite drugstore foundation, the Rimmel London Last Finish 25 Hour Foundation in 103 – True Ivory, and found that while it did blend, it tended to soak up more foundation than it blended, so it’s definitely not one to use dry from that little test!

Wet: Boy does this thing swell when you run it under water! But not in a good way, it holds the water in the weirdest kind of way which leaves you wringing water out of the sponge until it’s dry enough to use. What I also found weird, is that a soapy residue washed out of the sponge the first time I used it? It did wash away eventually, but that was definitely not the most pleasant thing to find — and I won’t be putting it near my face until it’s had a good scrub. So for the purpose of this review, I’ll be blending out on my hand.  The other thing I noticed was that there’s a part on the lower half of the sponge right in the middle which stays dense and hard, no matter how much water you introduce and it tends to hold whatever shape you squish it into for a while, so there’s some serious functionality differences between this and the Real Techniques sponges already. While it didn’t absorb much of the product, and certainly blended a lot better than it did in its dry state but the finish was patchy and I kind of felt like I was pounding my face with a small rock – which isn’t saying much is it?

Cleaning: Needless to say, if the application didn’t impress me it completely ruined all hope for dupe status at this point. The sponge completely started to break up when I subjected it to the same cleansing methods that I use on my other sponges. Not massively, but it did crack and start to fall apart even before I scrubbed it against the mat, so if you do own this product and you’ve yet to clean it you may want to be a little cautious about the approach you take.

Overall, it’s not the dupe you might be hoping for – I certainly won’t be using it on a regular basis, it’s a kind of last resort product as far as I’m concerned, if not the kind of thing I will be culling come the next spring clean out. You might be wanting something cheap, but I do honestly believe you are getting a much better product for about $8 more in the Real Techniques sponges, you are paying for a quality, non-patchy finish and a sponge that does hold up to cleaning and reuse in the ways this Kmart sponge just can’t. And really for $3 you’re not paying for much are you? I will also say that the weird soapy residue freaked me out – it was likely just something used to ensure the cleanliness of the product prior to use but the fact that it was retained in the sponge is just another indication that this product is going to result in far to much retention of precious foundation and concealer in the sponge itself.

Have you tried the Kmart Makeup Blender Sponge? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,
x ac.

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Sugar Pill Kimchi & Trinket Liquid Lipstick Review

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I recently purchased the Sugar Pill Liquid Lipsticks through Princess Polly, an online retailer that I mention that tends to have a rather large stocking of US makeup brands. It was Vogue Online Night, and there were some steep discounts floating about the internet so I really couldn’t deny myself the opportunity to pick up these, particularly when I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to actually try them given the gorgeous swatches that pop up almost daily on the Sugar Pill Instagram account. I only got Trinket and Kimchi, figuring it was best to play it a little safe with a brand I’d never tried before, but I’ll be certainly looking to grab Pumpkin Spice after this, and definitely will be attempting to get my hands on some more of their products when the monetary gods grant me some good fortune.

In the meantime, I paid $50.40 for the pair of these lipsticks with $10 shipping included in that price and I put it on AfterPay, because I’m an adult and I can use AfterPay sparingly to make purchases I don’t really have the funds for now and just pay it off slowly. Ah the joys of the internet! With all those technicalities aside, let’s get into the review!

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Kimchi: A matte lavender mauve with a subtle blend of transparent aqua and violet glitter and it’s donut scented! I absolutely adore this, I was kind of skeptical given the really light colouring, but it’s just gorgeous. It’s dark enough to not wash me out, but still not dark enough to really take anything away from a bold eye look. It’s kind of that perfect in between that you could rock as a statement lip or could just pair with something for a little bit of effect but nothing overpowering. It’s hard to explain, but certainly on my pale skin tone it almost appears dark. Although then again, it is dependent on what colour glitter is being reflected back as I’ve found it tends to look a little different in various lights.

Trinket: A matte mauve infused with luminous golden sparkles that shine brighter as the formula sets and it’s creamsicle (I’m not entirely sure what that is but it smells familiar) scented! This has a beautiful gold glitter spread right throughout the product, and it’s not subtle in the slightest — but that’s what really gives this product a particular something that so many other similar shades just don’t have. It seamlessly blurs the line between ultra-glam and something that could be everyday if you wanted it to be, with the glitter only visible up close or if you’re really taking a hard look/it catches the light. It’s definitely one of those products with a bit of a wow factor!

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I think what I have to mention here is the formula.  It’s creamy, it’s mousse-like and it’s just one of those gorgeous lightweight formulas that never feels dry on your lips nor does it have that cakey or heavy feeling that so many other liquid lipsticks do seem to have – and even better? It’s a one coater. Literally, a single coat is pigmented enough to do my whole lips #blessed. I also found that it wore really well throughout the day and required incredibly minimal touch up, even when I wore it out drinking and eating which is always something that makes my heart skip just a little bit.

I also adore the attention to detail on the packaging. The golds and the dripping hearts just look amazing on this packaging, and what I didn’t realise at the time of purchase was the similarities to the Jeffree Star Liquid Lipsticks — or may they’re similar to these, I’m not sure which came first, from the top right down to the rounded bottom of the tube, the shape of the tube itself, the lid and the way you get that air locking click when you know it’s closed – these are some obvious similarities. It’s a packaging that has weight and a really obvious high end type of value, which you’d expect given the price and overall, I’m incredibly happy with these, and as a bonus the applicator is also easy to use and has a really nice shape.

I don’t think I can stress enough how beautiful the formula is, and given the amount of product I’ve tried in the liquid lipstick category, this one slipped straight into third position in my rankings right below the Colourpop Satin Lips which are also incredibly comfortable to wear and long lasting. I can only wish for more colours after having had these and worn them – despite there only being three colours in their incredibly diverse and unique range of lip products. So, if you’re looking to check out a brand that is producing a quality product with a bit of a twist, I’d say to look no further than Sugar Pill – particularly as they are a cruelty free brand and all of their liquid lipsticks are also vegan and that’s definitely something we should all at least consider when purchasing products when possible.

I’m definitely on the lookout for some liquid lipstick recommendations, so let me know in the comments below what you’d like to see me try!

Until next time,
x ac

Daiso Haul / My Boyfriend Picks My Makeup

Today I have something that is brought to you in part by me and in part by my boyfriend who helped me bring this post to you. You might be wondering how that works exactly given the rather bizarre makeover he gave me last year, well by making some really misguided selections in Daiso in the hopes that he’d be able to locate the charcoal blackhead mask but instead had to settle for a pair of surprisingly decent lashes and some eyeliner – which is a little surprising considering his eyeliner far outranked mine in terms of pretty much every category aside from packaging. While I’m rambling I think it’s worth mentioning a couple of changes I’ve made around the site: I’m currently working on a few masterlists where I’m looking to create a fairly definitive ranking of all the products of any given type that I’ve tried and had some moderate success with. The first of those should be visible in my home menu above and if you’re interested check it out, I’ve now ranked six liquid lipsticks, and will be working on ranking the remainder of the brands I’ve tried in the coming weeks and providing links and swatches, with a numerical ranking on these eventually.

With that aside, let’s get into these reviews. I’m sure many of you know the drill with Daiso, depending on where you live there’s a set price for everything in the store, in the US I believe it’s a little over a dollar, in Australia it’s $2.80 which is still considerably more affordable than a lot of store offering comparable products. It also meant that I got all of these products for less than $15 which is just an added bonus considering there was one that I absolutely hated and just tossed, because I wouldn’t wish a bad eyeliner on my worst enemy. So, here is what we picked up when we were in Melbourne this week, Hamish’s selections have been marked with an asterisk and I’ve got to hand it to him, despite the fact we could hardly read anything on the packaging and what we could read could be a little confusing, he’s made some choices that will be staying in my makeup bag.

  • Gel Eyeliner in Lame Black
  • Flat Eyebrow Pencil in Brown*
  • Impact Eyelashes No. b 01*
  • Eyelashes No. d 09
  • Princess Liquid Eyeliner in Black*

What I Loved:

The Flat Eyebrow Pencil in Brown – I think the first thing I have to say is don’t be led astray by the strangely red drawing on the packaging, this isn’t a red product, it’s definitely just the right shade of brown for my eyebrows it’s just packaged a little strangely. It also isn’t as thick as they seem to be suggesting it will be. It’s creamy and pigmented and it comes with one seriously good spoolie on the other end so it’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a more affordable, travel friendly eyebrow pencil. It’s also really nicely shaped and the packaging seems pretty damn solid.

Princess Liquid Eyeliner in Black – I had my doubts about a package that had the words princess liner in a weird, holographic font on the front of the very small package. But it’s got those same features that I associate with some of my other favourite super cheap liners like the Boe Liquid Eyeliner – it’s got a fairly rigid felt tip and it’s dark and super pigmented. It also dries down incredibly fast and once it’s dried, it’s going to be there come any weather situation you might find yourself experiencing.

The Eyelashes – You know they’re making a killing on lashes when they have a lash aisle, or at least a majority of an aisle. These are no exception. Hamish picked the more glam set and I picked up a fairly daily glam style of lash. The bands are thin and are easily applied to the eyes. I think I’ve talked about these previously and if I haven’t well I should have because I literally have bought dozens of these lashes, or at least similar ones and they’ve never failed me.

What I Hated:


The Gel Eyeliner in Lame(?) Black – I don’t know why the colour is called lame black, but it’s certainly not a good product. Don’t get me wrong, if it was good I’d probably never stop raving about a gel eyeliner that came with a brush and in such adorable packaging but it was dry, the brush was fifty shades of awful and well, it went straight in the bin despite the packaging. There was just nothing I could do with it. I tried using it with a little Fix+ and it was just beyond gone. I think this is definitely one worth giving a miss.

Overall, if you’re looking for a really interesting shopping experience Daiso is definitely worth checking out, they have seemingly everything from cosmetics, to gardening tools, to plates, bowls and teapots and everything in between – including food! I do love the lashes they sell, particularly as there’s actually something to satisfy pretty much everyone’s taste, whether that be really dramatic lashes or something a little more natural and clearly they have something to offer in terms of really well priced, decent quality makeup. That being said, it’s also clear that you need to exercise a degree of caution as not everything is a hidden gem (lol). So with that, happy shopping!

Is there anything I need to try from Daiso? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time,
x ac

Garnier SkinActive BB Cream – Nude Effect – Self-Adjusting BB Cream in Universal Shade | Review

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I have to admit, there’s always a part of me that likes to play the skeptic. I see ads for new beauty products and subconsciously look to poke holes in the claims based on what I know is possible. This is definitely one that proved me wrong. To me, I couldn’t quite figure out how it was that a BB Cream, something I haven’t really touched since 2011 could have come so far that it could match any skin tone to the point where they can produce a universal shade rather than a range — I’m guessing you’ll understand where I’m coming from when I say that I just had to find out whether this product actually could do what it was claiming to do and what is that exactly? It comes out of the bottle white and will adapt to your skin tone thereby allowing them to release a universal shade? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

So this product claims to be a self-adjusting all-in-1-BB cream with transforms to match your skin tone, unifies with natural coverage, achieves a flawless healthy glow, moisturises and has an SPF of 15+. It’s a lot for one product to be doing for the low price of $9 (for all you Australians out there, head to Kmart if you’re interested), and I wasn’t entirely sold on it but as you can see from the photos below — or what I could capture in the short few seconds where it went from white to a light ivory coverage in line with my skin tone that it does actually work. I also tested it on my housemate, who has an olive complexion and is still slightly tanned from a hard summer at the grain site and it did auto-match to his skin tone as well, so I can at least guarantee that it works in the range of ivory to olive but I’d love to hear how it works on other skin tones!

This is by no means a heavy or medium coverage BB cream, if you’re expecting a coverage miracle you’re not going to find it here, but what you will find is something natural that provides you with some coverage and just lets you look natural and fresh without looking heavy and overdone. It’s an everyday look for the days where you’re not interested in looking like an Instagram filter and that’s perfectly okay with me. I will say it was slightly oily on my skin, although I’m finding that I’m coming back from being incredibly dry to being a combination tending on dry — that is to say that I’m oily through the T zone and dry elsewhere. This held up pretty well considering that I was oily and it had a very moisturising finish which did come across fairly oily towards the end of the day — although that could be attributed to the sunscreen or the apricot oil.

This is me trying it out on three separate occasions, as you can see it can look oily and doesn’t do my skin texture any favours where there might be larger pores or dry patches. So a good moisturiser underneath might be something to consider.

I will also say that it amplified my pores on the right side of my face massively, in one small incredibly dry patch that exists just under my eye it was like there were small craters on my face, and if you’re looking to cover a few more spots you might need to use a light concealer, which is something I will be looking into doing but overall I’m really happy with the finish. It’s easy to apply, the kind of easy where you only need a small 5 cent coin size portion and just spread it on with your hands — it’s that kind of easy that would make it the sort of product you could reach for on a day where time is a little bit of an issue and then you’d still have something on, but not anything that is going to slow you down on the way to school or work. But of course, you do pay for that ease of use, it does oxidise and it can look like a bit of hot mess on oily parts of the skin by the end of the day, so it may require blotting or some powder over the top to avoid this.

While I wouldn’t say that it’s perfect I was fairly happy with the overall look. This BB cream provides a really nice light coverage, which considering I’m currently without any blemishes isn’t a huge issue. It also worked on evening out my skin tone, smoothing out my for a really dewy look with a natural glow and the main thing? It does actually match to my skin tone, starting from a white and slowly blending in. Is it perfect? No. I can’t say it’s going to work on all skin tones as I’ve only got my own to work with and if you have an oily complexion you may run into some issues but for $9 and the kind of ease it provides? What do you have to lose? I paired it with some fairly neutral eyes here and a bold lip, something fairly standard if I’m starting work any time after 7am, my biggest complaint being that it oxidised on my skin and looked darker than it should have, and it looked like a bit of a hot mess through my T zone by the end of the day — and that’s something to consider if you’re looking at a product like this.

Have you tried the Garnier SkinActive BB Cream Universal Shade? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time,
x ac

 

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil Review/First Impressions

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Described by NYX as: ‘A radiant eye liner that also doubles as an eye shadow. Made with a blend of mineral oil and powder our creamy Jumbo Eye Pencils glide on effortlessly—no pulling tugging or fading—and come in a rainbow of vivid hues. Our most voluptuous pencil yet! Our Jumbo Eye Pencils can be sharpened with a sharpener that has an opening for a large pencil‘ the Jumbo Eye Pencils are the thing of YouTube legend, particularly Milk — the pure white shade which I left behind in favour of Cottage Cheese purely for that shimmer. These creamy eyeliners/shadow bases are a fan favourite, and you can just see from the reviews online that having one or two of these is something that is almost essential to any makeup lovers collection. Considering I’m working on reducing how much I buy, these colours were selected with the goal of being multipurpose in mind, and I was not disappointed.

601 – Black Bean – You couldn’t ever accuse this of being low in pigment, it went on dark and it stayed dark — what you see on my arm is a single layer of the product and now, several hours layer I’m still wearing the shadow of that thick line on my arm. I absolutely loved how creamy it was – it just glided on smoothly which isn’t something you can say about every black eyeliner/shadow base. I will say the one thing that annoyed me slightly is the fact that it transferred when I didn’t set it – but then again, that’s my mistake rather than an issue on the products part. I’m really happy with how this felt as an eyeshadow base and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it doubles as an eyeliner and how it holds up given that it’s an incredibly creamy formula.

608 – Cottage Cheese – It was a big decision between Cottage Cheese and Milk, and for someone who is lactose intolerant it’s not the easiest decision to make. But in the end it all came down to versatility. The big theme of the week. Milk is apparently the holy grail of white liners, Cottage Cheese on the other hand has the potential to be an eyeshadow base for light shimmery colours and an inner corner highlight, or if you feeling a little adventurous – an actual highlight if you’re willing to sheer it out a little. While this one took a little layering to bring it up to the level visible in the swatches, from that point it was still very creamy and easy to sheer out if you desire and I did find it was an incredibly beautiful highlight when I took the effort to spread it out a little. It also stayed put as an eyebrow highlight, and while this is more sheer than Black Bean, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

630 – Cashmere – I went for this shade because it’s one of those beautiful pale golds that I love washing over my entire lid on a day where I’m not feeling the whole effort on the eyes thing. Like Cottage Cheese, it’s very sheer and if you are wanted a very pigmented look with this colour you will have to layer it, but it’s also got the benefit of acting as a potential highlighter if you so desire. Regardless, I am looking forward to experimenting with it a little more and coming up with some really easy eyeshadow looks with these.

I’ve been doing some reading about the sharpening issue with these, while the website does have a sharpener specifically for them, I probably won’t be buying that as I’ll have to order it from the US and that seems like a fairly lengthy trip for a single sharpener. Instead, I’ll be attempting to use whatever sharpeners I can find, or I might melt them down and put them in some makeup pots similar to the MAC Paint Pot containers that I have lying around. Apparently they melt down really nicely and the oil content seems to protect it from the effects on the heat in the same way some products would be. So I’ll let you know on that front if I end up giving that a try when the product starts to run a little low. I would say that packaging is the only area where these pencils do fall flat as I’d much prefer a pot over a stick personally, it’s more versatile and storage wise, isn’t as messy. It’s just something to keep in mind.

Overall, what are my thoughts on the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils? Do they live up to the infinitely large YouTube hype? In short, yes. I feel that there’s a strong selection of colours, and you do have the choice between metallic/shimmery type shades with a little more glitter content and a few matte shades. Considering that these were $5 each on sale at Target this week, they’re definitely something to check out, they are the sort of product that will have multiple uses, but at the same time, the packaging isn’t exactly the best considering they will require sharpening quite often which does mean a tool you’ll have to add to you makeup kit or travel bags if you are carrying them around for everyday use. Regardless of the packaging, I’m really impressed with these shades, and I can see myself wearing them often.

Have you tried the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils? What colour should I buy next? Let me know in the comments section below!

X ac